By Linda Fisher Thornton
Taking Responsibility is “In”
We have reached a point in business where proactively taking responsibility as leaders has become a movement in its own right. We use many different words to talk about our leadership responsibilities.
Corporate Social Responsibility Trust Building
Sustainability Character Integrity
Care Profitability Community Service
Greater Good Ethical leadership Compliance
Boundaries Impact Avoiding Harm
Leadership responsibility is multidimensional, and cannot be described in one or two words. It is personal, interpersonal, environmental and societal. Fortunately, that level of complexity is not stopping leaders and organizations from taking the lead in demonstrating what it means to take responsibility in leadership. These articles describe the powerful movement toward proactively taking a high level of responsibility for our choices and our impact:
- Corporate Social Responsibility: How the Movement Has Evolved Since the 1990’s by Paul Monaghan
- Concept of Global Responsibility By Prof. Em. Ph. de Woot, Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative
- The Rise of Compassionate Management (Finally) by Bronwyn Fryer, HBR Blog Network
- The B Corp Declaration of Interdependence By bcorporation.net
Understanding Our Impact
Our understanding of the purpose of leadership has evolved to include responsibility for a broad array of stakeholders over the long term. We have moved way beyond the command-and-control model. We now understand that our role includes bringing out the best in others and helping them achieve their potential while we all work toward the organization’s goals.
“Leaders of the future unleash human potential by instilling trust through authenticity, clarity of purpose and openness to continual learning. ”
–Giles Hutchins, Leadership for the future: diversity, creativity and co-creation, thegaurdian.com
We now are beginning to see the powerful impact that responsible leadership has on organizational performance, employee engagement and other important metrics. In the process of creating responsible organizations, we also help employees find meaning in their work.
“Values-led leaders help create emotionally and mentally healthy organisations, where business goals are met without sacrificing personal values.”
We understand the importance of leading for the long-term and taking responsibility for our impact on others, the environment and society.
“If capitalism is to remain a healthy, vibrant economic system, corporations must participate in taking care of the society and the environment in which they live.”
Learning For Life
It is becoming increasingly clear that responsibility is not optional in a global society – it is at the heart of our leadership when we lead well. Leadership development has become a critical priority as executives acknowledge the increasing complexity of leading in a global society. Leaders need help learning through this maze of terminology and leadership expectations.
This is an ongoing quest for leaders and for students preparing to be our future leaders. As Thomas Paine said, “When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”
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