HR Evolution

5 minutes With Dr Teresa Kruger

New Executive Consulting Psychologist at our Pretoria office, Dr Teresa Kruger is passionate about developing people through greater self-awareness and remedial initiatives.

Teresa, what excites you about industrial psychology?

I have a passion for people development, and being able to tailor solutions and interventions that provide individuals with a basis for development, and ultimate transformation. This makes my profession extremely rewarding.

For a number of years now, I have been keen on ego functions, emotional, spiritual and moral intelligence and how these factors influence personal growth on a deeper level than formal learning and development. Being able to apply these psychological factors and understanding in my job, provides a lot of excitement and satisfaction.

What new trends or changes have you see over the last five years?

I have seen a shift in the way HR approaches and applies problems and organisations. There appears to be a movement to populate HR with more professional staff such as industrial psychologists, which boosts the HR environment. I believe this will increase credibility from the old notion that HR adds no value. The shift towards professionalism will enhance the level of HR services in general.

I have (gratefully) seen a shift towards a greater emphasis on self-leadership in organisations (and society in general). In order to improve and expand the leadership pool we have, we need brilliant self-leaders. There are young people with a heightened sense of spiritual intelligence and conscientiousness, which puts them at a major advantage to where people were five years ago. A subtle underlying evolution is happening, which is wonderful, and makes the development field easier.

You’ve also practised as an executive coach. What was your most rewarding / challenging assignment?

My most challenging work is always with any person that does not see the need for development or evolution, and think they know themselves perfectly. And yes, it happens at executive level too.
This closes them up for any potential development and self-awareness experience. I have worked with a few such executives, and it is draining. Not because of time spent, just because they are not on the same page, and seemingly have no intention to be.

The most rewarding experience was with two executives at the opposite end of the scale. They did not assume to know everything and was open to greater self-awareness. After completing the assignment, their feedback was wonderful. The one expressed gratitude for helping him to have a better relationship with his children, which he never took the time to understand.

The other exec blatantly said that I saved his marriage, which was not the objective when setting out.

These small things make it worthwhile. While one would expect to make a difference on an organisational/leadership level when engaging in executive coaching, it is the smaller effects that have greater value.

For many years, HR has been talking about playing a stronger and more strategic role in organisations. Is this still a wish or are you seeing evidence of a breakthrough?

I strongly believe HR is becoming more “professional” by way of qualifications. This opens the field to an enhanced level of thinking and problem solving. HR is moving to little hubs of consultancies within organisations. However, I do not believe that HR has the kind of thinking yet needed to solve the most profound and complex problems of their individuals.

HR as people must undergo a greater evolution in order to assist others in that way. There is still too much emphasis on the superficial aspect of Human Resources and behaviour.