March is Women’s History Month, so we’re taking a good look at some powerful women – past and present – who can teach us important lessons about how to be the best HR professionals we can be.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Ethics

You may know her as Notorious RBG, or that really fit Supreme Court justice, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg is best known for her strong beliefs, which she holds while serving as the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court. When you think about Ginsburg, ethics is one of the first words that should come to mind. Similarly, it’s a quality often associated with HR professionals. Many like to say HR professionals serve as the conscious of their company, and that isn’t far off the mark. It is your responsibility as an HR professional to uphold your company’s values and policies, and to make sure each employee practices them properly – much like Ginsburg does each day she dons her Supreme Court justice robe.

Serena Williams & Confidence

The field of HR is bound to challenge you at many points throughout your career, and there’s one thing you’ll need to get you through it: confidence. That is something Serena Williams knows a thing or two about! Williams is a record-breaking tennis star, mother, and businesswoman, and she is unapologetically proud of all of those accomplishments. But that confidence is something many women struggle with. Yet, as HR professionals, it’s absolutely vital. During the course of your career, you will experience things that will test you. Maybe your company is taking a risk with a new venture, maybe you’ve just accepted an exciting (but scary) promotion, or maybe you’re creating and implementing a brand new program that will shake up how things are run in your workplace. Whatever challenge you’re facing, channel Williams’s inner confidence and believe in yourself and the work you’re doing.

Madeleine Albright & Conflict Management

One of the most important qualities in any position, especially that of an HR manager, is conflict resolution. No one knows this quality better than Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as US Secretary of State. During her tenure, she became a renowned negotiator and conflict manager. To do so, she placed a strong emphasis on putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, a lesson many HR professionals should take to heart. Whether your responsibility is to conduct conflict resolution between two fellow employees or negotiate a specific policy or contract, understand what your peer wants as well. Once you reach this understanding, you can find a solution that satisfies both parties.

Oprah Winfrey & Development

As an HR professional, you should always be seeking out new ways to learn and develop, both for yourself and for your employees. Developing personally and professionally will allow you to continuously grow in your career. Who better to learn this important lesson from than Oprah Winfrey? Born in rural Mississippi, Oprah began co-anchoring the local news in Tennessee at 19 and took a low-rated Chicago talk show to number one by age 29. Two years later, The Oprah Winfrey Show, an hour-long talk show, was being broadcast nationally. But Winfrey never rested – she went on to be an actress, producer, author, and philanthropist. She is the epitome of someone who is never satisfied. Take a page out of Oprah’s book and begin focusing on new ways you can develop yourself!

These women are all incredible examples of people who worked hard each and every day. They are the embodiment of some of the crucial qualities any HR professional should possess. What powerful women inspire you? Leave a comment and let us know!

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