Rose, Dennis and Gordon, Ray and Hattingh, Waldo (2010) Pathway to responsible leadership. In: 1st International Conference in Responsible Leadership: The Next Generation Responsible Leaders, 18-20 May 2010, Pretoria, South Africa.
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Despite the many publicised examples of self-serving and even incompetent leaders, corporate leaders generally do have the best interests of those they represent at heart and use the tools and abilities available to them to respond to environmental challenges, create meaning for employees and harness the energy of others. However, the rate and scope of change, the challenges posed by persistent and worsening social, health, economic and environmental conditions, exacerbated by geopolitical and structural constraints, present a level of complexity that defies simple analyses and, therefore, may impact negatively on appropriate leader responses. Leadership and change management must be supported by all parts of the organisation working together harmoniously. We argue that responsible leadership needs to focus on the strategic alignment and fit of the leader against overarching global goals, and adopt an expanded view of leadership that shares responsibility without diluting accountability. We further argue that a broader framework is required than sustainability, one that begins by recognising the totality of global resources as a zero sum equation with finite resources and unequal distribution. This paper suggests that the emerging area of 'distributed leadership' may be a pathway to realising responsible leadership.
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