The co-founder of business psychology firm Mind Gym today accused the HR profession of "mediocrity" in a speech at Harrogate.
Octavius Black told delegates at the annual Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development conference that they needed to focus their efforts better to help organisations through the economic turbulence.
Black, whose Mind Gym consultancy has clients from Fujitsu to Royal Mail, said courageous leadership was needed as the credit crunch and soaring oil and fuel prices continued to bite.
He said: "HR needs to rethink. It is doing too much and at a mediocre standard. It needs to do less and do it really well."
Many HR professionals wasted their time on "pet projects" they were very good at, but that were of no use to the business, Black warned.
In an hour-long presentation that involved video clips, quizzes and asking audience members to discuss how their friends would describe them, Black set out the seven characteristics of a courageous leader: authenticity, hope, humility, persistence, bravery, vitality and curiosity.