In honor of National Boss’s Day on October 16th, we discuss active leadership in sustainability and what benefits come from company CEOs and upper management positions being closely involved in driving company sustainability programs.
What Is Active Leadership and Why Is It Important for Sustainability?
Leadership is a critical component of any organization, but it becomes even more important when organizations are working to gain momentum in their sustainability programs, an ambitious mission for companies big and small. Active leadership is necessary to develop shared company values and a vision for the future, build consensus around that vision, and then create and implement strategies to achieve it.
An active leader is someone who is passionate about their work and the company’s mission, and they strive to lead and motivate their team. Active leaders support individual empowerment and stay closely involved with their team, stepping in when needed to lend guidance and support.
This type of leadership is important for sustainability because it ensures that everyone is working together towards the same goal and the desired results are achieved. It also allows leaders to identify opportunities and challenges early on, so that they can be addressed quickly and effectively.
The Benefits of Active Leadership in Sustainability
Often, the most effective way to lead is by example. When it comes to sustainability, this means engaging in ethical and eco-friendly practices as part of your personal lifestyle and being at the forefront of your company’s sustainability program. This sends a strong message to others that doing good for people and the planet is at the core of company values. It can also help inspire others within your organization and across your industry to make changes in their own lives and contribute to creating a more sustainable world.
There are many other benefits of active leadership in sustainability which we’ll discuss below.
When it comes to sustainability, communication is key. By actively engaging with employees, upper management can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal, reducing any confusion around the company’s sustainability efforts.
Good communication fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among employees, as they feel that their voices are being heard and that their input is valued. In turn, this leads to greater buy-in for sustainable initiatives and a more positive attitude towards change.
Furthermore, effective communication can help to prevent misunderstandings and missteps which can jeopardize progress. By keeping lines of communication open, leaders can stay informed about potential problems and address them before they become serious issues.
Employee engagement is critical to the success of any sustainability program. Active leadership rallies the team together and ensures employees at all levels of the company are committed to the cause. This encourages powerful collaborative opportunities and when everyone is working together towards a common goal, progress can be made more quickly and effectively.
Additionally, engaged employees are more likely to be passionate about their work and take pride in their company’s accomplishments. This enthusiasm is contagious and builds a positive green work culture as well as makes a positive impression on outside stakeholders.
Creating a sustainable future requires the involvement of everyone, from the top down. Active leadership is essential to driving this change and ensuring that all voices are heard. With greater engagement comes greater opportunity for positive impact.
When company CEOs and upper management are actively involved in sustainability initiatives, employees are more likely to be motivated to do the same. “Walking the walk” and being a positive role model for your team gives employees a sense that they too can be a part of a bigger cause. This elicits motivation to work hard, responsibility and fulfillment.
Leadership involves taking risks and stepping out of comfort zones to achieve change. This creates opportunities for innovative thinking and creativity around solution building.
This is essential in the field of sustainability, where we are constantly facing new challenges as our climate changes and research expands. By being creative, company leaders as well as their employees can identify new ways to minimize their environmental impact and help transform their industry.
Creativity also allows leaders to communicate their vision for sustainability in a way that resonates with others, inspiring a call-to-action within the community and beyond.
More Effective Decision Making
Upper management needs to be present in their sustainability program to ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of their employees, the community and the planet. Active engagement allows CEOs and managers to have a thorough understanding of the program’s current status and future potential, including any weaknesses or obstacles that are hindering progress.
Staying present and aware of what’s going on with your sustainability program, along with proactive communication with your team, lays out the foundation for making smart, informed decisions.
Improved Company Reputation
It’s no secret that sustainability has become increasingly important to consumers, especially millennials. And while there are many benefits of being a sustainable company – from reducing your carbon footprint to improving your bottom line – one of the most important benefits is the boost it can give to your company’s reputation.
A 2017 study by Cone Communications found that 87% of consumers say they would purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about. What’s more, 76% of consumers say they would trust a company more if it was transparent about its sustainability efforts.
Being an active leader in sustainability improves your reputation and builds trust among consumers which can lead to increased sales and long-term success for your business.
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Active leadership in sustainability is driving global change by minimizing environmental and social impacts across industries and creating powerful green work cultures with purpose-driven employees.
To recap, the benefits of active leadership for sustainability are:
- Promoting ethical and eco-friendly practices on the job and in daily life
- Improved communication that honors the voice of all employees and helps identify problems before they occur
- Greater employee engagement that supports team collaboration and a passionate green work culture
- Increased employee motivation and satisfaction in being a part of a bigger cause
- Enhanced creativity for solution building and inspiring others to take action
- More effective decision making that puts the wellbeing of employees, community and planet first