Yes, strong leadership is important, and sometimes tough decisions need to be made; but it would be counterproductive and naive to believe leadership is just about making decisions or commanding orders.
It sometimes feels as if leadership entails negative connotations, the figure of a boss or manager seems distant, and leading people in their work is plainly a matter of well organized commandments.
We certainly hope this is not the way companies approach good and strong leadership. A good leader is one that is responsible, empathetic and can lead its employees’ way by inspiring them to do and be better.
A change of leadership paradigm
Newer generations now entering the job market are beginning to show what they value most, not only from a job, but from the leaders they want as guidance.
Similarly, the pandemic and its aftermath have also been key to understand, and finally address, that which was broken or obsolete in many company’s leadership and management. So what should good leadership look like by today’s standards?
According to a recent report, responsible leadership is one of the most important aspects for companies to address. This means making sure leadership is based upon honesty, transparency, commitment, empathy or closeness, among other traits.
Almost by definition, leadership is about inspiring others. Good leaders are able to drive their employees towards achieving a common goal by working together or cooperating.
This definition should give us the clue to understand how leadership is not about strict and inflexible corporate processes, but rather about influence, inspiration, and the capacity to transform chaos into collaboration.
How should leaders approach this new paradigm?
But in order to influence and inspire people, first we need to create an environment of trust and show commitment. In other words, an inspiring leader is able to effectively communicate and be coherent to the purpose and values of the company. It is as simple (and complex) as leading by example.
In fact, employees themselves look and ask for a meaningful and fulfilling work, beyond a well paid salary, it is increasingly important for people to create a positive impact, and to know that their job matters in realms outside their given industry. This goes in line with the rise of social and environmental sustainability, which has become the prominent competitive advantage for companies when attracting and retaining talent.
So what does a good and inspiring leader look like? In a nutshell, a good leader prioritizes being honest, empathetic and open; this is, a good leader is not a distant or unapproachable entity that solely makes decisions. Additionally, they inspire commitment and trust, and value long term goals over short term profitability or success. This is, they look towards the future whilst actively listening and engaging in the present needs of employees.
Build trust through transparency
As we have mentioned before, good leadership needs to based upon trust. But this is not a given just because one has a leading position inside the company. Instead, in needs to be earned and sustained. An we believe transparency is the only way to get there:
The values, vision and mission of the company should be clearly communicated and translated into employees everyday work in such a way that is empowering. In other words, employees need to know the importance and value of their jobs for the achievement of the company’s ultimate goal.
Decision making processes should also strive to be transparent and openly talked about. This however is not solely a top to bottom initiative, but a practice to implement across the entire company. Open communication channels should be in pace for transparency to become effective.
Transparency and sustainability
We believe and work for transparency to be one of the key values driving the company, as it is the only way to understand what we are doing wrong, what we are doing right and what it is that we are not doing yet.
In this regard, it is essential to our work to promote good corporate governance, meaning that the processes of disclosure and transparency are followed so as to provide precise and accurate information about the financial, operational and other aspects of the company, including a more accurate definition of the ESG performance.
We have developed a corporate government tool that helps establish ESG impact objectives for employees in regards to the sustainability strategy of the company. Through our technology we are able to activate and track employees’ impact, creating engagement that translates into improved ESG metrics, reputational value and an overall positive impact for the environment and society.