One of the key behaviours people professionals need is the ability to influence others, and the courage to challenge decisions and actions.

We need these behaviours every day at work. Whether it’s making a case for change, contributing ideas, getting buy-in from stakeholders, or working with line managers on their people decisions – we all need to influence others. And influencing often happens in tandem with courage: the ability to challenge when there’s resistance or opposition, speak up when you know something isn’t right, and take a stand when it’s the right thing to do.

Alongside this, we also need the courage to know when we’ve made mistakes, to take responsibility for them, and learn how to do better in future.

To do all these things effectively, we need to build relationships with others to understand their views, concerns and needs, and use the most effective ways to communicate with them in order to achieve positive outcomes.

Professional courage (and influence) for HR, OD and Learning professionals is more critical in a world where the truth, justice and the concept of 'being right' has been distorted and even weaponised.

Having the courage to hold lines on ethics, morality and fairness; being on the side of good, virtuous and just outcomes, is vital for HR as a profession.

With new challenges brought upon us by advancing digital technologies and new economic, societal and business models; we need courage to challenge both orthodox and emerging; and be positively influential and boldly creative in the future design of the world of work."

Perry Timms, Founder and Chief Energy Officer - PTHR at People and Transformational HR Ltd

Professional courage and influence standards

Each standard progresses through four levels of impact. Which level do you most embody in your day-to-day work?

Foundation level Associate level Chartered Member level Chartered Fellow level
At this level you will: At this level you will: At this level you will: At this level you will:
Courage Contribute views and opinions clearly Contribute to discussions and respond to questions in an informed and confident way Challenge constructively and confidently in the face of opposition Take a stand with senior colleagues when it is the right thing to do despite significant opposition or challenge
Communication Provide information accurately and in a timely way Communicate key information in a clear and engaging way to influence others Communicate with impact, and make complex things clear, to enable a way forward Take a visible lead in progressing difficult issues for the benefit of the organisation
Stakeholder relationships Initiate purposeful conversations with a range of people Take steps to engage regularly with key stakeholders to understand their preferred approach and needs Proactively develop and sustain relationships with key stakeholders to inform how you influence them Build and leverage a network of relationships with current and future influencers and stakeholders
Influencing approach Understand the impact of different influencing and communication styles in a range of situations Consider potential reactions and resistance to inform how and when you communicate your ideas Tailor your influencing style and select appropriate communication channels to engage your audience and gain buy-in Use a wide range of influencing styles and strategies to secure commitment across and outside your organisation
Accountability Recognise and accept mistakes Recognise and take responsibility for your mistakes and contribute to putting things right Take responsibility for mistakes that sit within your remit, encouraging learning and demonstrating ownership for the actions to make things right Create a culture of accountability ensuring ownership for improvement and learning

Learning Hub

Professional courage and
influence course

This course explains the importance of professional courage and influence. It will help you to develop this key behaviour to achieve positive outcomes in your role.

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