On 13th April 2016, GLRI hosted its first ever virtual collaboratory meeting based on the 50+20 Collaboratory Approach. The theme of the vCollab was “Defining responsible leadership”. It was attended by more than 25 partners, associates and guests who dialed in for 2.5 hrs of enriching and insightful discussion. Scroll on to view the entire session’s recording.
Responsible Leadership has become more prevalent but the consistent understanding of what it is and how to develop it is yet to emerge. GRLI’s first vCollab was designed to progress our common and shared understanding of Responsible Leadership.
In a true collaboratory style, we opened the session with contributions from five conversation starters: Karen Blakeley, Jonathan Gosling, Anne Keränen, Katrin Muff and Mark Reno. They helped to shape our discussion by proposing/sharing a definition or through posing a question that aided all participants to collectively refine and progress our understanding of the topic.
Watch a video recording of the vCollab on Responsible Leadership:
Access the slides presentation with the valuable input from the Conversation Starters: vCollab 20160413 Defining RL.
Based on the discussion, Karen Blakeley proposed common themes analysing responsible leadership at individual, systemic and relational levels.
Area of focus- Character development: values, self-awareness, learning how to live your values, moral courage, integrity, how do we develop this? (Level of analysis- Individual)
Area of focus – Competencies: stakeholders and dialogue, engaging with complexity, systems understanding, change and innovate; self-awareness, managing ethically (Level of analysis- Individual)
Area of focus- Complexity: dilemmas, contradictions, challenges, we won’t all agree (Level of analysis- Individual)
Area of focus- Stakeholder engagement: Distributed leadership, engaging with all key stakeholders, practicing dialogue skills, being in the middle of the conversation rather than on top, importance of process — in order to negotiate RL in the moment (Level of analysis -Relational)
Area of focus- Content: is there something specific about RL or is it a combination of ethical and distributed leadership? Is the content stakeholder determined? Is the content ‘given’ (which would differentiate it from other theories) e.g. sustainability, human rights, governance, societal well-being, or a commitment to CSR (Level of analysis- Systemic)
Area of focus- Governance: do we need systems and processes to ensure RL is practiced; who are leaders accountable to? How are they held to account? Where is the will to change? How do we change outmoded systems of governance? (Level of analysis- Systemic)
Area of focus- Context: will determine the content of RL; each context is unique and cannot be specified but has to be negotiated (Level of Analysis- Systemic)
Area of focus- Socio-political context: is this a battle between two sets of conflicting values? Are there people who do NOT want to see RL and the underlying values it represents gaining influence, whom we will have to fight? Or is this a journey involving ongoing persuasion which will culminate in the rise of a new generation of RLs with different values? Or is it both and many more? (Level of Analysis- Systemic)
Area of focus- The journey: as unfolding story, the role of narrative, exploration, play and humour, not taking ourselves too seriously.
Responsible leaders facilitate efforts and influence others to bring about a more equitable, just, democratic and sustainable world. They do this by developing character and integrity; by partnering with and empowering stakeholders; by leading change to embed new systems of accountability; and by supporting communities dedicated to the beneficial flourishing of people and society.
“A responsible leader possesses an advanced understanding of the interdependencies of the system and the own person, is recognized through an ethical and values-based attitude, is able to build long-term relations in particular with stakeholders and to take into account their needs, and advances change towards sustainable development” Liechti, 2014, p.6