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Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Essay

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Updated: Jan 29th, 2020


Human resource profession is a very dynamic field and to be a human resource leader one needs to be innovative in his actions and deeds and in generating good ideas. Modern human resource management requires a culturally accustomed leader; it requires a personalised and collaborative kind of leadership and a technologically proficient as seen in the context of Frank Lowy (Dowling, Festing & Angle, 2008, p. 87).

Human resource leaders need to be concerned about the present and at the same time keep focus on the future in order to meet the challenges and the demands of the ever changing global markets.

He should posses among others qualities like intelligence, determination, integrity and self-confidence (Northouse, 2009, p. 15). A good leadership in human resource profession should embrace changes and demographic shifts like age, race and gender of the employees all over the world. The working place of 2011 cannot be similar to the working place of 2020 due to these demographic shifts.

This essay will discuss the role of leadership in human resource that is, what are the qualities of a good leader, what a good leader can bring to an organisation, what an organisation can do to develop its own leaders. A case study of Frank Lowy as a leader is given at the end of the essay to give substance to the essay. It is frank Lowy because of his outstanding leadership in steering forward the Westfield group into a giant retail merchandize.

In this first paragraph, I have given insight into what human resource field is all about, what kind of leader an organization requires. It also explains qualities of a good leader and the role of a leader.

Leadership and Human Resource

Leadership can be understood to mean the ability to inspire other individuals to accomplish things. A good leader teaches by example and should motivate other people to follow their actions. Leadership can be assigned or emergent. Assigned leadership is derived from the title or the official position of an individual in an organization (Northouse, 2009, p. 13). The following two principles guide a modern and 2020 leader in human resource profession:

Going Digital: Leadership in human resource should embrace modern technology. For every firm to access global market it should apply social and networking technology like Skype, Facebook and Blogs since this facilitates faster flow of information and enhance efficient decision making. However, Effective leaders are those who perform operational roles besides the supervisory duties and this can only be realized through making use of modern methods of information and communication technology.

Leadership should be developed holistically and not in isolation in order to achieve the intended expectations (Wilson, 2010, p. 6). Human resource involves bringing the people together in order to meet the objectives of the organisation. In the contemporary times, there has been a shift in the roles of human resource manager and department from the earlier role of a screener and protector to being an agent of change and planner (Sims, 2007, p.12).

Skills Required by HR Leaders in 2020

The fundamental skills for the 2020 HR leaders are collaborative mindset; therefore, any successful firm requires leaders who have collaborative mindsets. They should be able to function perfectly in a networked environment and should have the desire to collaborate with its competitors and to deal with people of diverse cultures.

Also, show the tendency to navigate complex markets. Employee feedback is important in an organisation and most of the employees demand honest leaders for them to give out their maximum productivity. Team Development, the young generation of both leaders and employees consider work as an integral part of their lives. They require that their tasks to be fulfilling and to hold the promise of advancement.

Good leadership should be delivering feedback to the workers. Employees also demand, among other thinks guidance, relevant training, and learning opportunities and to have the feeling that they are part of the community. Leadership with collaborative thinking always spends a lot of time in building rapport and trust with the workers. Leaders should pay more attention to the employees (Human Resource Magazine, 2011, p.14).

Technology; 2020 leaders should be technologically savvy since the modern generation of workers have resorted to applying modern methods of technology which include social networking technologies and this calls for leaders to be conversant with technology, this will facilitate two way flow of information.

The use of technology also enhances fundamental organisational virtues like transparency, inclusion and faster communication and these factors are critical for the success of the organisation. A technologically savvy leader will be in a good position to address the changing market situations. A 2020 leader should also focus on revolutionising organisations technologically and thus enhance technical proficiency of the organisations (Winstanley & Woodall, 2000, p. 7).

Globally focused and culturally familiar: In the process of growing global, companies are faced with myriad of challenges which may be both economic and governance in form. A successful leader in 2020 should be in position to display competence in working with foreign companies.

Since expansion of a company will lead to employees being forced to work with people of different cultures, they need to display exceptional skills that will enable them create harmony and cohesion. The three principles that should guide a global oriented leader are people, planet and profit.

Facing the future; a 2020 leader should be the one who can scan the market place, identify market trends and build new skills which will ensure long term realisation of objectives, and viability and sustainability of an organisation. Since competitiveness requires innovation and proficiency, a quality leader should be inventive and creative in his/her thinking. This will enable the leader to rationalise distribution of resource (Human Resource, 2010, p. 1).

How to Develop HR Leaders

Human resource leaders should be dynamic and they should change based on the changes in the business environment and the business plan. Leaders are nurtured, they should learn the following: Managing people, performance and risk: Effective management of employees is fundamental.

This can motivate the workers and lead to increased productivity; this will also make the employees demonstrate a sense of commitment to the company (Chillibreeze, n.d., p.1). A leader should manage his employees’ performance; this is achieved through aligning their tasks to their achievements and contribution towards the objectives and goal of the business.

A prospective leader should analyse the weaknesses that are related to human resource like, for example, what effect it will have if good employees leave an organisation or what happens if the employees do not meet the defined objectives of the company or what are the measures that can be taken to mitigate risks (Strategic Human Resource, n.d., p. 1). Furthermore to develop quality leadership, there are several factors that should be observed, these include:

Leadership in the past: the past is the accurate tool of prediction if the future is to be determined. A good leader should also create a catchy vision. Quality leader should be one who displays tendency and willingness to take responsibility and lastly a quality leader should demonstrate potential to overcome challenges (Australian Human Resources institute, 2006, p.6).

Developing quality leaders for 2020 can be achieved through several measures. The first action is through provision of training in areas like business communication, conflict resolution skills, team building, personality and psychology, time management and skills concerning delegation of responsibilities and goal setting (Leadership Qualities, n.d., p. 1).

Potential leaders can be developed through coaching and mentoring. Mentoring and coaching is instrumental in enabling individuals to reach peak performance, this will enable future leaders to reach high levels in their careers (TLNT, 2010, p. 1). Leadership development is fundamental in nurturing leadership among employees. A company should have a leadership development program which will nurture potential applicants (Fairley, 2001, p. 2).

Objectives of Quality Leadership

Quality leaders should focus attention on the following: Policies: Human resources policies should be clearly outlined. These policies include trust, openness and consensus. Motivation: A good leader should create an environment in which people are willing to perform their tasks with great enthusiasm and that which will make everybody a team player.

Relations: human resource leader should treat company employees fairly and they should address the grievances of employees. This will foster a health work relations. Quality conscious: A quality human resource leader should demonstrate quality in all spheres of human administration (Vision 2020, 2011, p. 1).

Frank Lowy

Frank Lowy offers an inspirational story in the business sector of Australia. The growth of his business, his philanthropy and contribution to humanity is a clear manifestation of Frank Lowy as a man of exceptional talent. Lowy is ranked among the richest Australians and most of his revenue is from the Westfield shopping centre (Forbes, 2011, p. 1).

His Principles

His talent and skills are attributed to the following principles:

Cash flow management: Lowy believed in the principle that there should be more cash inflow than the outflow and if this happens to an individual then, it is the right tract and if it is the contrary then one should get out. Creating and rapidly developing the vision of introducing shopping centres to Australia and moving on to expand internationally required taking many financial risks, such as taking on risky acquisitions and acquiring venture capital (Dick & Merett, 2007).

More recently Lowy and his company have been seen to take advantage of opportunities which have presented themselves due to technological advances, such as running campaigns via Facebook (Timson, 2010). However, Frank Lowy’s affiliation with the A-League soccer competition can be identified as one such example. Although the competition has struggled financially Australia’s improved rankings and integration into the Asian football federation provide business opportunities for Lowy to pursue in the Asia region.

Importance of effective management: At first, when Lowy took over channel ten and played an active role in it, it was considered as a blunder and the best way of reaping benefits out of the business was if he had hired the best broker who had knowledge of how to buy films.

Through this Lowy learned a lesson that understanding success in one direction is not a guarantee of success in business that is totally different from the one that an individual works in (Storey, 2004, p. 234). In order to critically assess and evaluate the qualities which are attributed to Frank Lowy as well as his type of entrepreneurship and why he has become successful, it is necessary to apply and compare existing theories on Entrepreneurship.

Forming productive partnerships: Lowy, considers his ability to form productive partnerships as the secret that brought him his fortunes. His partnership with John Saunders was what led to the establishment of Westfield as the biggest shopping outlet in Australia (NSW HSC, n.d., p. 1).

These characteristics and skills include, skills in opportunity recognition, high energy levels, interest in money, creative thinking skills, positive frame of mind, an ability to take risks, good communication skills, good understanding of financial issues and an ability to deal with ambiguity.

Lowy displayed his ability to deal with ambiguity when selecting a country, the US, where the shopping centre industry was highly fragmented with great uncertainty; however, he used an effective business strategy to overcome that problem. Lowey had an ability to analyse financials and understand company structures. He used sophisticated financial instruments and corporate structures to attract investors.

Lowy perfected his communication and negotiation skills through business relationships with residential property owners, retail leaseholder’s partners such as the large department store and supermarket chains.

Lowey showed his drive, tolerance of risk and opportunity recognition skills through continued acquisitions of shopping centres in California and Washington DC allowed Westfield group to build up location-specific knowledge and relationships and to leverage bargaining power, with sub-contractors, suppliers, planning officials, media and retailers.

Lowy was able to recognise and take advantage of the changing regulatory environments in the US and the subsequent boom in shopping centre building that started in the 1950’s (Dick & Merrett, 2007, p.308-317).

Leadership Styles of Frank Lowy

Frank Lowy has proven himself to be an extremely proficient leader. As Dubrin et al (2007, 74) discussed, a leader’s style refers to an identifiable pattern in leadership behaviour which a leader consistently displays. Such styles are considered be extremely important when relating with followers and whilst any leader will use a number of styles, depending on the demands of a given situation, leadership theorists believe all leaders’ styles over time can be categorised (Graeff, 1997, Dubrin et al, 2007).

Dubrin et al (2007) and Fernald et al (2005) discussed Entrepreneurial leadership and its characteristics. These characteristics clearly show Lowy is an entrepreneurial leader; however, aspects of other leadership styles can also be seen to have been utilised by Lowy over the years.

Styles of leadership which have been displayed by Lowy include Autocratic Leadership, Participative leadership, and more specifically, consultative and democratic leadership. By altering his style to suit the demands of the situation Lowy has exhibited aspects of situational leadership theories such as that first identified by Hersey and Blanchard (Hambletone, 1982).

As CEO of Westfield Group Frank Lowy had a reputation for taking unilateral decisions and for liking things done his way (Australian School of Business [ABS] 2006) which fall under characteristics of autocratic leaders (Dubrin et al., 2007). Knight (2004) discussed the decision of Lowy in 2004 to go ahead with a massive merger which would in effect lead to a loss of individual power as being against his character and leadership style.

In an address given at the AGM in 2007 Lowy spoke of the work of the board and senior management in terms of “we” and “our decisions” once again suggesting a participative leadership style (Lowy, 2007). A consultative leadership style is said to be one in which the leader discusses options with group members but one in which the leader maintains the final decision making responsibility (Dubrin et al 2007, 75). Frank Lowy’s leadership behaviour can be seen at times to fall into this category.


Human resource is at the core of every success in an organisation. As a section in every company, it should be equipped with qualified personnel or it should be served by people with good leadership skills. This is because it deals directly with employees of the company and any action by the human resource section of an organization will trigger a reaction; such reactions whether from the employees or not will somehow affect labour productivity.

Frank Lowy is one of Australia’s most well known entrepreneurs. In building a small retail into the world’s largest retail property group Lowy has exhibited much entrepreneurial behaviour. An examination of Lowy’s entrepreneurial history shows he possesses many of the characteristics which entrepreneurial theorists attribute to entrepreneurs and which can be seen to have led to his success.

This essay has identified a number of potential future entrepreneurial actions which may be undertaken by Lowy, these include the use of technology to build “virtual shopping centres” and expansion into Asia. In the works carried out by Dubrin et al. (2007) and Fernald et al (2005), Lowy has been shown to possess entrepreneurial leadership. It has also been shown that Lowy has fitted into being a situational leader by adapting himself to fit different situations which require his attention.

Through his speeches, it has been shown that he embraces consultative leadership as well as consultative leadership because more often than not he has opted to seek consultation from others. Lowy’s leadership style can be said to be strong entrepreneurial one however he has displayed characteristics of many other leadership styles including autocratic, participative, consultative and democratic styles.


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