Reflective Essay Help on Responsible Leadership
Responsible leadership has gained certain momentum in recent years. In greater public, the area of irresponsibility amongst the organizational leaders has become the concerned issue. According to Cameron (2011), responsible leadership is not only based on building social and moral relationships with all the stakeholders and business partners but also maintaining and sustaining it. Responsible leadership dictates certain kind of roles associated with a responsible leader including sense of care, sense of accountability, sense of recognition, stewardship, visionary sense and coaching abilities. Walsh et al. (2003) has defined the responsible leadership to be the one in which individuals act in an appropriate fashion. Under Dutton et al. (2008), responsible leadership is equivalent to virtuous leadership or leadership inclined towards acting, being and doing good.
Durgan (2006) have defined responsible leadership to be the overlapping study of ethics, corporate social responsibility and leadership. RL has been very much argued to be the new and emerging leadership style for business leaders, hence extant literature on this style is scant as compared to other leadership theories. Existing leadership theories have pointed out the lacking factors of responsibility and accountability in the current business leaders. Maak & Pless (2006) pointed out leadership theory to be of viewed from normative approach of ethics. The responsible leaders tend to be known as “weavers of relationship” who build trust, interact ethically and cultivate sustainable relationships amongst various stakeholders (Pless, 2007).
RL theory is built on the foundations of corporate social responsibility theory and triple bottom line concept (Maak & Pless, 2006). The responsible leaders are the one who focus on building relationships with various stakeholders instead of dictating the laws and imposing the rules on them. RL theory also contains attributes of stakeholder theory. According to Waldman & Galvin (2008), the responsible leaders have strong sense of responsibility and concern towards fulfillment of the needs and interests of the wide number of stakeholders (i.e. those who get affected by the company’s actions) including society and environment. Hence, a responsible leader is defined to be the one who creates a culture of inclusion that is built on solid moral and ethical grounds (Pless and Maak, 2004). Increasingly today’s businesses are identifying the need to follow an inclusive approach of leadership that focuses on building relationships with all stakeholders including clients, suppliers, community, future generations and the environment. In this instance, Abergeldie is one of the companies that is listed in top 10 list of Australian companies due to its solid and effective social responsibilities.
Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure was first established by Mick Boyle in 1995 for delivering the infrastructure projects including tunnels, water treatment facilities, bridges and dams (Abergedlie, 2018). Today, the company has expanded its operations across in Eastern Australia and four other countries. Abergeldie has construction capabilities, steel fabrication expertise and has developed in blind bore shaft drilling technology (Abergeldie, 2018a). The reason for choosing this company for leadership analysis is because of its long withstanding history of CSR activities including charities and community fund-raising events. Furthermore, Abergeldie and its staff has been actively participating in social causes that tend to solve the broader social problems including homelessness and hunger (Abergeldie, 2018b).
Responsible leadership includes three main components i.e. value-based leadership, good stakeholder relationships and ethical decision-making process (Pless & Maak, 2011). Value-based leadership theory has an authentic and ethical dimension that advocates the notion that organizational and personal values must be aligned in the organizations (Copeland, 2014). Abergeldie follows an inclusive value-based approach to leadership as it encourages its staff to participate in advisory committees and on boards. The main example of this is the participation by Abergeldie staff members in Civil Contractors Federation, BY having an inclusive environment, Abergeldie allows its staff members to experience mentoring and leadership throughout their working tenure. Furthermore, at Abergeldie, all the leadership issues are broadly discussed on the business platform ranging from employees rights and responsibilities to conflict management (Abergeldie, 2018c).
The second aspect of responsible leadership is building good stakeholder relationships while conducting the business in normal course (Copeland, 2014). Before conducting its all construction projects, Abergeldie conduct a thorough risk assessment of its key stakeholders who are directly affected by construction work. Mostly, state government agencies, local government, local businesses, residents, property owners, emergency services, sensitive receivers (schools, parks, worship places, child care centers, hospitals etc) and community groups are the stakeholders that get affected by Abergeldie’s construction programs. It liaise on continuous basis with all of its stakeholders for ensuring strong communication with people about the likely impacts of work activities carried out by Abergeldie (Abergeldie, 2018d). According to Greg building strong business and stakeholder partnerships, Abergeldie has achieved success and sustainability in its operations. Moreover, Ian Neal (Non-executive director) has the main responsibility of balancing the needs of Abergeldie with the needs of all of its stakeholders.
The third major component of responsible leadership is ethical decision-making process including CSR activities (Waldman, 2011). Abergeldie in this instance has partnered up with several community organizations and charities. It has built close relationships with St. Vincent de Paul Society for participating in range of community fund-raising events (Abergeldie, 2018b). It has been sponsoring “free food, drink, chat” van for helping the homeless people living in Parramatta and Penrith. Abergeldie has a strong focus on sustainability in its business. It reviews its waste management and energy usage programs in routine for minimizing its negative impact on environment (Abergeldie, 2018b).
The company adopts CSR targets by using sustainable development goals indicators set by United Nations during all of its key projects and procedures (Abergeldie, 2018b). Moreover, Abergeldie has also diverted its much of attention on research and development of new technologies pertaining to renewable energy and waste management. In its recent sustainable initiatives, Abergeldie has set new waste disposal system in NSW and QLD that focus on compositing and recycling of materials for reducing landfill waste (Abergeldie, 2018e). On the other hand, it has diverted its attention towards tyre recycling as tyres are the major reason of landfilling. Abergeldie is the member of Sustainable Business Australia and Businesses for a Clean Economy where it advocates pollution reduction and environment protection strategies that includes pricing the carbon emission.
Mick Boyle (founder and Executive Chairman of Abergeldie) is a strong follower of value-based leadership approach as he values cohesiveness within the society in which people share their experiences, time and resources for assisting others in the community (Abergeldie, 2018a). The leadership at Abergeldie believes in giving back to the community. Hence, it can be said that at Abergeldie, Mick Boyle and other leaders are setting the high standards of responsible leadership by making ethical and sustainable decisions, creating long term relationship with key stakeholders and by facilitating an inclusive environment for its employees in business.
The mission statement of Abergeldie is clear and concise i.e. “to deliver complex infrastructure needed to build better communities”. In past Abergeldie had only focused on donating money to refugees as a CSR initiative. However, this did not solve any problem related to reducing environmental impact and improving the communities (Trenchless Australasia, 2017). Moreover, Abergeldie has been facing community involvement issues during its many complexed infrastructure projects. One major example is Glass-Reinforced-Pipe installation in Brisbane. During the installation of pipe, Abergeldie faced backlash from community as all the construction work was above ground near houses and included round-the-clock tunneling. Abergeldie took number of steps to mitigate the negative impact on nearby communities by installing sound suppression barriers, approving traffic management and limiting the number of heavy vehicle movements during peak traffic times to conform to highest standards of safety of community members (Trenchless Australasia, 2017). Such steps by Abergeldie shows its commitment towards building a better society through its solid CSR and ethical approaches.
Abergeldie is currently following many CSR and ethical approaches to stay responsible in the community. However, since it belongs to highly sensitive industry, there is still a need to include health and safety measures for its employees in detail. It requires to fully inform its employees about the risks of construction and make certain that the informed decision-making process is appropriate. Also, it requires to adhere to continuous learning strategy for upstreaming its health standards before, during and after the construction project. Moreover, a whole new communication plan with key stakeholders is required to inform them about the severity and probability of the harms in a procedurally transparent, timely and fair manner. Involving stakeholders at every step of decision making ensures strong relationship and advocates the ethical measures taken by the organization.
During course of this assignment, it was understood that responsible leadership is inclusive of ethical, psychological, behavioral, governance and leadership theories. It includes ethics, CSR, characteristics of a responsible leader and need to build relationships with stakeholders. The characteristics of a responsible leader were also discussed in the literature out of which some were evident in the leadership of Abergeldie. Moreover, it was also learnt that responsibility is not only in understand one’s duties, but is much more concerned about identifying the needs of the surrounding people and making a well-informed decisions involving risks in ethical and legal contexts.