Some decades ago, companies and organizations across the globe had one goal: high profits. However, in our millennial generation, businesses, companies, and most firms seem to be taking a new turn. In this new path, the organization’s managers are not only interested in profits but also societal and environmental welfare.
Every government that is concerned with its citizens’ well-being is encouraging CEOs and business leaders to embrace sustainable leadership. Of course, this kind of conscious leadership is effective in making the world a better place for all people despite their social status. So what is sustainable leadership all about?
Meaning of Sustainable Leadership
This refers to managing and running organizations and companies with societal, environmental, and profitability development goals in mind. As a manager or CEO of a certain company, you are tasked with the mandate of providing direction to the society which is meant to make their lives better and sustainable.
In sustainable leadership, the executive leaders look at the immediate and future goals of their companies and line them up with the global community’s expectations. When the organization plays its expected role in society, the profits may slightly decrease at the onset but the well-being of the society will increase. However, the profits will increase eventually. But why is sustainable leadership so important?
Why It Makes Sense to Adopt Sustainable Leadership
For this kind of leadership to become successful, the CEOs and managers of the organization should have thorough planning, especially during the leadership succession phases. Here is why sustainable leadership should be adopted:
- It promotes employee engagement
Employee engagement is one key to higher productivity. As a sustainable company leader, you involve everyone in the company’s plans and goals towards achieving global goals. If the leaders lead the company or team with sustainability in mind, there is a sense of stability and long-term focus that lead to employee engagement. Besides, it gives the company a stronger purpose which is easier for employees to adhere to.
- It reduces the risk of burn-out for the leaders.
Trying to achieve a certain level of profit during your short tenure in office has caused burn-out in many leaders. The beauty of sustainable leadership is that it lengthens your tenure in office and makes you also focus on environmental and societal needs. It eliminates strains since everyone in the organization and society is involved in making the world a better place.
- It makes the organization have a positive image.
Leadership determines the reputation of the company. Great leaders will know how to treat their fellow executives and their juniors to create a tangible bold with them. Take a company like Unilever, which has adopted sustainable leadership, under the leadership of Paul Polman as the CEO. Within nine years, the company has seen a double market growth rate while it has boosted its shareholders returns and overall market share. Its market share gains are excellent, making it rated as one of the top-class companies. This has eventually given the company a good reputation globally.
- Gives rise to quality leaders
Sustainable leaders do not just happen; they are raised and nurtured by the existing leadership. This is the reason why most major companies are lengthening the tenure terms. Conscious and sustainable leaders come from a group of CEOs that have longer tenure terms. This is because of their developed leadership traits.
- Minimizes the poverty level
One of the goals of this conscious leadership is to eliminate poverty levels. However, leaders must be very committed, open-minded, honest, and ready to learn. As you travel as a leader, you interact with various kinds and classes of people, enabling you to learn and become more exposed.
As a leader, remember your company has a social role to play to your stakeholders. Your company is expected to produce excellent services or goods at affordable prices ethically and legally. You have the responsibility of offering financial help and philanthropic services to the poor in society. Besides, you should have in mind that the responsibility of the company extends beyond the traditional company boundaries. Now you have the responsibility of ensuring that your suppliers, employees, their families, and environment is incorporated in your plans and goals. It is more than time to take back externalities into account to evaluate companies performance. As a starting point, it is essential to be intentional in articulating the WHY to determine what the world wants and needs from your organization.
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