According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Human resources managers plan, direct and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees.”

That may sound like a lot already, but if you’ve ever worked closely with an HR manager, you know he or she often does far more. From putting out internal fires to serving as a makeshift counselor, HR managers are critical to running a successful company.

In this article, we’ll discuss the personality types most naturally suited for the HR role, share 10 characteristics of successful HR managers from experts across the industry and how Teamphoria is disrupting the space by providing free employee review and employee recognition software.

The HR Personality Profile

First things first: What type of personality is most likely to succeed as an HR manager? The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) — frequently used as a hiring and career-assessment tool — offers a suggestion. MBTI is a psychology-based personality test that identifies 16 distinctive personality types based on differences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. MBTI suggests two of the 16 types naturally exhibit some of the key talents needed to succeed as an HR manager.

Personality type ENFJ, or The Teacher, is an idealist organizer who is driven to implement his or her vision of what is best for humanity. ENFJs often act as catalysts for human growth because of their ability to see potential in other people and their charisma in persuading others to adopt their ideas. They tend to make excellent HR managers because they have a gift for helping others actualize themselves and provide excellent leadership.

Additionally, personality type ESFP, or The Performer, is a vivacious entertainer who charms and engages those around him or her. ESFPs are spontaneous, energetic and fun-loving, and they take pleasure in the things around them: food, clothes, nature, animals and especially people. Their optimistic nature and enthusiasm make them great at motivating others, which also helps them succeed as HR managers.

That is not to say that other personalities can’t also succeed as HR managers, but these two personality types naturally exhibit some of the top traits needed to do so. In an effort to understand more about human resources management, we’ve compiled a list from industry experts and leading HR publications of the top 10 traits among those who are already succeeding in this role.


10 Characteristics of Successful HR Managers

1. PEOPLE-PEOPLE: Not shockingly, both MBTI personality types that are naturally suited for HR roles have “E” as their first letter. That E stands for Extrovert — or people who prefer to focus on the outer world over their inner world. The heart of HR is about people and relationships. As such, having exceptional people skills and a passion for working with people are musts.

“HR professionals … are responsible for maintaining and managing the employer/employee relationships that contribute to morale and motivation. For this reason, it is crucial that HR professionals have the emotional intelligence necessary to support these relationships.” (Source:

2. TECHNOLOGICALLY SAVVY: Whether it’s video conference calls, instant messaging services, shared digital workspaces, virtual hubs or employee engagement software, HR managers must pay attention to what technology is available and how it’s shaping the 21st century workplace. Clearly, Teamphoria assists HR professionals with staying high tech by completely disrupting the HR space with employee recognition and employee engagement software. Click here to learn more about software for employee recognition, employee reviews, goal setting and employee surveys.

“Great teams typically use more than one technology to stay in touch, collaborate and get things done.” (Source: Society for Human Resource Management)

3. EXHIBIT A SALES MENTALITY: Counterintuitive as it may seem, HR is essentially a sales job. HR managers need to be able to sell their organizations to recruits, new hires and even seasoned employees. Having a sales mentality can go a long way for success in the HR field.

“Recruiting and hiring is a sales job at its core, so look for someone who has the mentality to effectively ‘sell’ your organization — from the first phone screening to salary negotiations.” (Source: Inc.)

4. PURPOSE-FOCUSED: As much as any other business leader, an HR manager must fully understand the purpose of his or her company. This goes beyond the mission statement or business strategy to recognizing on a higher, more personal level the reason a company’s employees choose to come to work every day.

“Without a clear understanding of the precise nature of the organization’s purpose and its challenges, it is impossible for an HR manager to effectively lead the task of delivering the right human resources to enable the organization to succeed.” (Source:

5. TRUSTWORTHY: Often, HR managers are the leaders whom employees turn to when they’re having issues with someone else at the organization. These managers deal with highly sensitive issues, such as pay and benefits, violations of organizational policies, or personal challenges impacting work. As such, it’s important that employees feel their HR manager is someone they can speak to in confidence and trust.

“Employees will open to someone they trust and seek advice on various areas. … Successful HR managers build trust through straightforward communications and interactions.” (Source: LinkedIn)

6. SOLUTIONS-ORIENTED: It should go without saying that there will be conflict within the workplace. Everyone is not going to get along with everyone else. And HR managers are often brought in to help navigate such conflicts. Successful managers are excellent negotiators with a solutions-oriented attitude — always seeking a resolution that satisfies all parties.

“High productivity demands that people work together at least civilly. HR has to find ways to allow that to happen. … You can’t be effective without problem-solving ability.” (Source: HR Daily Advisor)

7. MASTERS OF TIME EFFICIENCY: HR managers do not deal with one project at a time. In fact, they tend to deal with highly demanding and constantly shifting workloads, making it critical that they can efficiently manage their time to maximize productivity.

“HR managers will often find themselves overseeing more than one project at the same time. … The ability to manage your time effectively and prioritize tasks will stand you in good stead.” (Source: Monster)

8. EXCELLENT LISTENERS: Sometimes, letting someone talk through an issue is more productive than actively trying to solve it. Successful HR managers are able to listen to the problems employees are grappling with, and by doing so, empower them to solve those problems on their own.

“Be sure you are listening. Don’t interrupt until they [employees] are done. Don’t answer the phone. Just listen. Good HR people solve problems; great ones enable the solution.” (Source: ForeFront Magazine)

9. CAN NAVIGATE GRAY AREAS: Engineer-types seeking to solve black-or-white issues need not apply to HR positions, where there’s plenty of room for gray. Think of sensitive issues like sexual harassment or gender discrimination. Successful HR managers do not shy away from uncomfortable or unclear issues; they tackle them head-on.

“There’s a lot of ‘gray area’ when it comes to human resources — and your leader needs to tackle it with poise.” (Source: Huffington Post)

10. WANT TO BE MANAGERS: In our opinion, the absolute most critical trait of successful HR managers — or any manager, for that matter — is that they are people who actually want to be in management roles, as opposed to people who find those roles necessary in order to advance their careers.

“It’s harder than it sounds in an organization that’s scaling quickly to find these people. … Those who have that passion for leading a team are able to make personal connections with their employees and actually want to see them succeed.” (Source: Business Insider)

Ultimately, success as an HR manager is about more than having the right personality type or even exhibiting all 10 of these characteristics. It comes from being passionate about the field, invested in the future of the company you work for and equally invested in the development of its employees. These traits are all encompassed by Teamphoria’s software. 360 degree employee reviews, goal setting, employee surveys, and social feeds for employee recognition are all tools that allow HR professionals to meet these goals. Click here to learn more about Teamphoria’s free employee reviews and employee engagement software. Sign up for free today!

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