In this section, we present emblematic cases of good and bad practices in social responsibility and sustainability.
Responsible leadership strategies
By: Evodio Sánchez
Executives had not faced a challenge of such magnitude as leading an organization and managing its interests in the midst of a pandemic on a global scale. Old analytical methods of command and control for problem solving are discarded; What is crucial is a new leadership model that combines the strengths of “self-awareness, empathy, creativity and principles” in leaders.
The changes brought about by the pandemic limit the capacities of leaders in an unimaginable way. Responding to a financial crisis involves reaching shareholder goals, creating cash flow, managing internal policy, firing employees, being competitive, meeting dynamic needs and dealing with changes in the market, which causes the perfect storm that defines the captain of the organization. Although the crisis brings with it great opportunities, moving forward in environments with high uncertainty brings great risks.
A responsible leader recognizes that relying on experience and instincts is not enough to get ahead, as the problem involves too many stakeholders. Leadership needs to evolve with social responsibility, which requires courage to be empathetic with others and to recognize one’s fear of failing before others, which shows authenticity.
True leaders resort to expressing themselves with sincere feelings to support them in making difficult decisions that lead to authentic and sincere actions. Nine strategies are proposed to stimulate responsible leadership in a chaotic environment:
- “Destroy and rebuild the business model”
- “Focus, simplify and interconnect the organization”
- “Generate a climate of innovation”
- “Differentiate and segment the markets
- “Learn to lead diversity
- “Your new DNA will be social responsibility”
- “Redefine risk and uncertainty”
- “Create a bridge between conflicts
- “Values are the new flag”
Being a responsible leader is not easy and probably few executives will have the courage to become one, but there is a need to be aware of responsible strategies to approach that leadership model.
1) Dotlich, D. L., Cairo, P. C., & Rhinesmith, S. H. (2009). Leading in times of crisis. USA: Jossey-Bass.
2) Empatía. Inteligencia emocional. (2018). Harvard Business Review.