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Responsible leadership – A desirable trait in the 21st century

Do you recall your first leadership role? Were you prepared enough for the task ahead of you? 

How did you feel when a large group of people came to you for guidance all of a sudden? Did it feel weird that folks who used to be your coworkers — and friends — now referred to you as “the boss”? well….Leadership is not for the faint of heart. To be honest, managing people is a difficult task that requires a high level of skill; including the capacity to  control, direct or influence  people or an organization, ability to  command authority, inspire disruptive innovation, and exercise charm, all of which are considered to be forms of art  in and of themselves. 

Despite the fact that leadership can be defined in a multitude of ways, it is vital to grasp the various approaches to leadership roles. The Servant Leader, the Compassionate LeaderThe Tireless Leader, and possibly even The Mindful Leader for instance, all seem to lay emphasis on ethics, and constructive leadership. However, when it comes to identifying a leadership style in modern times, one term appears to have more clout than the others: Responsible Leadership.  

In this article, we will explore the concept of responsible leadership and the role it plays in making the world a better place.

To obtain a better understanding of the concept, let us first attempt to explore the modern world context for responsible leadership per the scenario below: 

Due to the rising dynamic and complexity of daily business operations, differing regulatory requirements and a diversity of lifestyles and beliefs about what is good or wrong,  the issue of leading responsibly in a globalizing economy is becoming increasingly tough, complex, and uncertain. Furthermore, major concerns such as global warming, rising inequality, global migration, and poverty place pressure not only on governments and international organizations, but also on businesses to contribute to a more sustainable future for people and the world. 

Responsible Leadership Demands 

As a result of the foregoing, persons in positions of corporate leadership are increasingly being pressured to take responsibility not only for shareholders, but also for society and the environment. Societal groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for instance demand that business executives act transparently and make socially and environmentally responsible decisions. As a result, the concept of responsibility is plainly crucial for a company operating in the twenty-first century. 

In light of the foregoing, what does it mean to be a responsible leader? 

What is responsible leadership and why is it so crucial in today’s society? 

Simply put, Responsible leadership can be defined as the management of a company’s relationships with society with the goal of addressing stakeholder concerns and contributing to the company’s multiple bottom lines of economic, social, and environmental performance. As a result, the leader is the one who facilitates and moderates relationships with the company’s numerous stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to focus on making long-term business decisions that benefit all stakeholders.  

Responsible leadership begins with personal responsibility, with the ability to lead genuinely while adhering to ethical and moral principles. When individuals do not behave in accordance with their conscience, it becomes more difficult for others to do so. While responsibility may and should pervade an entire organization, it should also underpin and influence every business decision. Below are some relevant traits that appear to be necessary for responsible leadership in the twenty-first century. 

  • The ability to make ethical decisions based on established norms and rules. 
  • Having moral courage and a desire to make a positive difference.  
  • Taking a long-term perspective and thinking long-term. 
  • Effective communication with stakeholders, employees, and clients. 
  • Taking part in group problem-solving. 

Lush, a cosmetics and beauty company, is an excellent example of responsible leadership. Lush knows every part of its supply chain intimately and does everything it can to limit its carbon footprint, so all of its products are vegan and ethically sourced. On top of that, it gives money to a significant number of human rights organizations each year. Lush’s activities are long-term and meet the needs of all stakeholders. Shareholders benefit from long-term earnings because the company distinguishes itself by treating employees well and providing customers with reliable, high-quality products. Meanwhile, the company’s charity works and ecologically sustainable  activities support the community and future generations.  

Benefits of Responsible Leadership 

Clearly, there are numerous benefits to adopting responsible leadership. A company’s sense of collective strength, as well as its image, can be improved. Today’s corporate leaders appear to have little reason not to follow a logic that promises a lot. It’s past time for them to understand that what was once considered a fad is now a necessary and acceptable societal shift. Furthermore, we argue that responsible leadership may help to solve significant issues of our time, such as how to integrate foreigners into the workforce in countries where tolerance for different cultures and ways of life is waning.  

Even if the definition of responsible leadership is imprecise and can imply different things to different people, making it difficult to grasp, business leaders in the twenty-first century have little excuse not to follow a logic that yields a lot. It’s past time for them to recognize that what was once considered a fad has matured into a necessary and acceptable societal practice. 

What is your personal view on responsible leadership? Get in touch with us and share your experience.  


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