Practices of Leadership

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Leadership activities constitute a crucial factor in shaping organizations' achievement in different fields. The choices taken by the senior management of various organizations have a direct effect on strategies and behavior. Sustainability, especially morality and social responsibilities are a comparative field of use of these initiatives. With the recent growth of companies worldwide, the concept of sustainability and CSR are critical subjects for consideration. They are viewed as almost similar ideas because they both contemplate natural, social and financial dimensions with an aim to provide a long-term viewpoint of addressing the present necessities with responsibility and not interfering with the capacity of future generations to address their necessities. Several successful companies globally have put in place genuine efforts to incorporate sustainability within their organizations. Post-bureaucratic approaches encourage the social network of employees in an organization which in turn improves the leadership capabilities by contributing in terms of decision making and giving ideas (Fenwick, 2007).

Achieving Sustainability through Leadership Practices

To maintain sustainability and CSR, organizations are seeking for harmony amongst short and long haul contemplations and the interests of the business stakeholders which were not achieved by traditional leadership practices. New styles of leadership have emerged due to the progressive changes in the idea of post-bureaucracy. With the new approach, more emphasis is laid on the commitment of the authority in supporting, transformation, and ensuring fulfilment of workers within a company. The commitment of the organization towards sustainability is encouraged when both the leaders and employees in the lower hierarchical levels support the idea and take part fully, that is, compatibility between workers concerns and the company’s values (Hunnicut, 2009).

 Factors leading to change could be internal or external. External causes include consumers, suppliers, government, and investors. Therefore, it is critical for the management to focus on its stakeholder’s views regarding its ecological duty rather than the traditional approach of capitalizing on shareholders needs with a view of increasing sales and profits. Such management comprises of conscious leaders who are able to bring about positive changes and prove the impact of leadership in altering the concept of utilitarianism. Conscious leaders are visionary and improve the organization culture through pushing for sustainability within the company through stakeholders networks.

Contingency Approach in Leadership

The post-bureaucratic approach of authority encourages the contingency hypothesis in impacting the achievements of organizations in different viewpoints. The hypothesis is utilized in major areas of a company such as achievement of sustainability. In most cases, the circumstances call for leaders to create flexible strategies in order to progress CSR and sustainability. Several ideal corporations have adopted the hypothesis in its operations. For instance, Google company uses the contingency hypothesis of authority in its efforts to manage sustainability and achieve CSR. The company focusses on the necessities of the consumers and comes up with innovations that effectively respond to those needs (Politis, 2003).   

Distributed leadership is an important approach that is embraced by the Google Company. The approach implies mobilizing all workers within an organization to exercise leadership with an aim of creating more chances for improvement and change. It focuses on interdependent collaboration instead of individual practices based on formal positions of authority or obligations. For key choices to be made in the company, all the senior leaders are involved in the process of decision making. The use of distributed leadership approach has reshaped the organization’s concentration regarding sustainability. Recent areas that the company is focussing on is renewable power sources. The company has upgraded its general operations with a view of conserving the environment. In 2016, Google was the biggest purchaser of a sustainable power source (Lozanova, 2017). In its model of sustainability, the company has invested its resources in over twenty projects on renewable power sources. Such efforts are incredible in shaping its corporate social obligation and sustainability.

Situational Approach

The contingency theory of administration proposes that the most appropriate administration style is subject to the setting of the situation. Utilizing a solitary, unbending style is wasteful. Leaders using the theory ensures that they focus both the circumstances as well as their styles with an aim of combining them proficiently. Post-bureaucracy supports this form of leadership referred to as situational leadership. Organizations utilizing the approach are able to maintain sustainability and achieve CSR.

The Apple Inc’ is one of the organizations that has expanded tremendously over the past few years. The company exercises situational leadership which has played a major role in making the company relevant to the market despite the rapid global technological advancements. The current Chief Executive Officer, Tim Crook, propelled a culture of dutifulness towards sustainability regarding the company’s corporate social obligation. As a visionary leader, he has embraced different changes in the organization which has moulded his leadership methods towards the contingency model. He has started various practices within the company such as preparation of standard audits internally showing the dedication of the organization towards sustainability. CSR also focuses on policies that influence the company’s supply chains and as a result, the Chief Executive Officer has put much effort in identifying and addressing main difficulties faced in the supply chain ((Mallen Baker's Respectful Business Blog, 2017).

In the past, the Apple Inc’ was blamed for not managing its sustainability particularly in connection to its processing plants working conditions. Due to the application of situational leadership, the company’s C.E.O analyzed such a situation and strategized methods of solving the problem. As the leader, Tim Crook encourages sustainability and ensures that the company upholds a maximum level of straightforwardness. The company has greatly achieved sustainability despite the lack of support from all its shareholders regarding resource allocation on ecological manageability. The visionary aspect and ethical standing of Tim Crook as a leader have influenced other changes such as contracting a new senior supervisor whose work is to oversee and control environmental approaches inside the organization. As a result of the leader’s commitment and utilization of the situational approach in his leadership, the company has witnessed achievement of sustainability towards morals and CSR.

Authentic Approach in Leadership

The authentic approach is another form of post-bureaucratic authority style. The approach greatly impacts sustainability choices concerning moral corporate social obligation. It involves a procedure of combining both positive mental limits and well developed hierarchical setting with an aim of achieving prominent self-awareness and individually managed positive conduct on the part of managers and workers hence encouraging positive self-improvement. The approach includes circumstances in which a leader can impact his/her subordinates as a result of the qualities he/she portrays. Such ability enables a leader to make and easily implement decisions within an organization. Positive qualities contribute to the development and a general positive transformation of the business operations. Transformative managers cause changes in their organizations that leads to success in that particular industry. They are committed to making a change and ensuring their ideas are effective to the company. Transformative leadership, therefore, plays a key role in the achievement of sustainability in different sectors (Yaghoubi et al., 2014).

There are various companies that utilize the authentic approach in their leadership. Application of the approach is clearly demonstrated on account of Ray Anderson. Utilization of the approach resulted to a great effect on modification of the worldwide mind-set concerning environmental sustainability. He was a founder of a company that deals with the manufacture of carpets. The company by the name Interface was started in 1994. As a result of expansion in the company, it modifies its operations in order to achieve sustainability. Ray, the founder, embraces the idea of sustainability with regard to CSR. As a conscious leader, Ray set the company’s vision as wiping out ecological impact totally by the year 2020. However, the company faced major difficulties because workers, as well as the CEO, did not clearly understand Ray’s vision. Failure to understand the leadership decisions concerning sustainability by investors led to withdrawal which decreased the company’s performance rapidly. Ray stood with his vision and worked hard towards its efficiency. The changes later proved viable in upgrading the organization operations and in turn the CEO, workers and investors admired and supported Ray’s efforts leading to a boom in the sales and a rise in the performance of the company as compared to others that did not implement such a strategy. Interface Company emerged as one of the organizations to effectively execute sustainability activities inside the setting of the company operations (, 2017).

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Impact of Leadership Traits on Sustainability

Trait leadership also impacts the extent to which an organization achieves sustainability. There is a great connection between choices made by a leader and leadership traits that person has. Factors such as age, sex, religious and ethnic background affect a leader’s notion of idealism and relativism. Idealism is a hypothesis explaining that our existence is moulded by our considerations and thoughts. On the other hand, realism suggests that reality exists on its own without depending on a person’s thoughts, considerations, and cognizance. The traits in a leader, therefore, causes a difference in the standards of ethical choices made in an organization (Cameron, 2011). For instance, religion is a factor that influences the kind of decisions made by leaders in an organization. Religion is mostly associated with beliefs and norms which are likely to influence a leader who is religious while carrying out his duties as compared to a non-religious leader. Existence of such norms modifies the leader’s judgement in operations concerning social responsibility of the business. It is expected that a religious leader will make and implement positive decisions that tend to achieve the organization’s sustainability. On the other hand, age has a great impact on the choices that a leader makes. Decisions made by a young manager automatically differs from those made by an older one because the difference in their ages causes a difference in life experiences which take part in shaping an individual. An older manager is likely to have worked under different environments. Such a manager has experienced various ethical problems which in turn shapes his/her moral standards. Therefore, in the process of decision making, it is expected that an older manager is more sensitive to moral rules. Age and religion of a leader are important factors that contribute in creating decisions that enable a business to achieve sustainable development in its corporate social obligation.


In conclusion, with the progress of post-bureaucratic methodologies of authority, leadership styles are key in managing the sustainability of an organization regardless of the sector it operates in. Methodologies such as dedication and good approach of leaders, coordinated efforts between the managers and the board, ability and leadership styles greatly impact achievement of sustainability. The findings have outlined the practical implementation of such ideas in major organizations in the worldwide market such as Apple Inc’ and Google which are some of the leading technology firms, and the Interface Company which deals with carpets. In addition, different companies seeking to utilize leadership in improving their sustainability should embrace such ideas.

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Cameron, K. (2011). Responsible Leadership as Virtuous Leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 98(S1), pp.25-35.

Fenwick, T. (2007). Developing organizational practices of ecological sustainability. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 28(7), pp.632-645. (2017). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2017].

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Lozanova, S. (2017). How Google Became the World's Largest Corporate Purchaser of Renewable Energy. [online] Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit. Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2017].

Making sustainability work: best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental and economic impacts. (2008). Choice Reviews Online, 46(02), pp.46-0995-46-0995.

Mallen Baker's Respectful Business Blog. (2017). How Tim Cook brought corporate social responsibility to Apple. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2017].

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Politis, J. (2003). QFD: the role of various leadership styles. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 24(4), pp.181-192.

Rainey, D. and Araujo, R. (n.d.). The pursuit of sustainability. 1st ed.

Yaghoubi, H., Mahallati, T., Safari Moghadam, A. and Rahimi, E. (2014). Transformational Leadership: Enabling Factor of Knowledge Management Practices. Journal of Management and Sustainability, 4(3).  

April 16, 2021

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