Research Paper on Sustainable Leadership: Enhancing Organizations & Communities

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1274 Words
Date:  2023-01-28


Sustainable leadership is mainly focused on the moral purpose that promotes the success of an organization and the community. As mentioned in the study by Zogjani and Raci (2015), the concept of the sustainable change rose from the increased technology as well as the emergence of globalization. Hence, sustainable change is meant to serve the interest of the organization as well as that of the community. The significance of having a sustainable change in the organization is for the sake of enhancing the general organizational performance. As asserted by Robert, (2004) leaders have the role to play towards the sustainability goals in an organization as well as the society. In the contemporary business model, the subject on a leadership role in sustainability goal has sparked a lot of controversies. Leadership for attaining sustainable development is based on a living process paradigm, instead of the mechanistic paradigm. The objective of the following essay is to critically analyze the existing role that leaders can emulate towards sustainability in an organization and society.

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A leader should develop an ample condition for sustainable development and set priorities. Zogjani and Raci (2015) explained that a leader needs to communicate to the members on the need for change that they are advocating. The change must be perceived as critical for the attainment of an organization's goal, and hence it should be given the highest priority. Furthermore, the leader has to develop an enabling environment for the change to be effective in an organization. Any form of an organizational objective has to strategize towards supporting the change in sustainability rather than conflicting with it.

A Leader must be equipped with the capacity to lead others effectively. Galpin and Whittington (2012) argued that the Leader needs to learn how to lead people towards specific levels of expertise in critical areas. A leader should ensure that the members of the organization are united and embrace specific skills to identify their strength and weaknesses, therefore serving as a facilitator who can produce the best result for the sake of the organization. Ferdig (2007) added that an effective leader has to be inspiring rather than intimidator. Leaders are expected to align the organization's vision and mission with the achievable goals. By motivating others, a leader can successfully direct the rest of the team members towards a definite goal and ensure that it is fulfilled such that it satisfied the needs of all stakeholders. A leader is not only expected to unite the people and encourage creative participation, but instead help the members to embrace a relationship with chaos, ambiguity, and emergence. Collaborating towards a common goal of solving problems, even when the standard is shared, it can be a difficult process; therefore, a leader needs to comprehend the idea that the conflict, tension, and uncertainty that emerges from differences can offer real potential for the creative emergence of viable solutions.

A leader should treat the members with respect at all times. The study by Fullan (2005) studied that respect is important for the growth of an organization. It involved treating others better, listening keenly, and making respectful decisions. The study further shows that encouraging mutual respect promotes to reduce conflict, workplace stress, and problems. Upholding workplace respect improves communication between colleagues, reduce stress, as well as increasing teamwork, and productivity which are essential in supporting productivity. In the long-term, respect promotes Human sustainability in an organization and community as well. The leader listens to the community and followers, together with treating them based on their attitude, beliefs, and values. Further, Ferdig (2007) supported that respect will provide room for the followers to shares their sentiments and contribution towards the sustainable goals of the community or organization. Also, eventually the followers will note their strength and weakness in the different aspects of sustainability goals. A leader should be respectful in giving the followers equal opportunities to realize the different roles they can play towards sustainable development.

A leader's role is to make a decisive decision on sustainability goals: Ulrich and Smallwood (2013) affirmed that the leader will begin with ascertaining the image or vision of the desired future of sustainability. A leader then explains to the followers on the crucial goals that they seek to accomplish and view them in a desirable perspective. The decision is made by the leader after consulting with other members of the community and organization, and align the suggestion based on the sustainability goals that they wish to fulfill before making decisions respective to the organization's vision, values, and principles. The leader needs to understand the challenges, and the contemporary nature of the situation when arriving at a different decision for the sake of ensuring that the decision made will mutually serve the community or organization.

The leader needs to demonstrate ethical standards in an organization. Goleman and Lueneburger (2010) jointly stated that an organization will have a successful and sustainable change in an organization when the leader decides to showcase the ethical approach which all followers of the organization are familiar with them in their environment. That is to say when an organization has a sustainable level of leadership ethics, they develop an optimistic sense of gaining positive changes. Commonly I a critical period of changes that frustrate different organization, the ethical and behavior of the leadership is a key part to pass this process. However, in a situation where the opposite happens, and instead the ladder tries to take advantage in a non-ethical manner on the group, through interpersonal relations in the organization, then such actions will reduce the chances of adjusting to the sustainability and changes along the process of change in an organization. Showing good values to the organization or community is encouraging. For sustainable development, a leader is expected to demonstrate fairness, equality, dignity, diversity, as well as respect individual rights.


To wind up, the world is dynamic and there are many emerging challenges and hence it requires effective leadership for sustainable development. For a leader to lead the followers towards sustainable development, there will be an inner process, where a leader needs to first be grounded in a self-understanding and relational view of the world, as a means to work with others to make a change. The challenges for sustainable development are growing more complex, intertwined, and everyone will need to work towards developing a more sustainable future. In that case, leaders, instead of offering a solution, they are supposed to generate opportunities for people to come together and create their answer towards sustainable goal. The development of a sustainable leader sufficiently demonstrates that it is the leadership wisdom that promotes leaders to indorse values of sustainability in organizational policies, practices, and processes.


Ferdig, M. A. (2007). Sustainability leadership: Co-creating a sustainable future. Journal of Change Management, 7(1), 25-35., M. (2005). Leadership & Sustainability: System thinkers in action. Corwin Press.

Galpin, T., & Lee Whittington, J. (2012). Sustainability leadership: From strategy to results. Journal of Business Strategy, 33(4), 40-48. DOI: 10.1108/02756661211242690

Goleman, D., & Lueneburger, C. (2010). The change in leadership sustainability demands. MIT Sloan Management Review, 51(4), 49. Retrieved from:

Robert, K. H., Broman, G., Waldron, D., Ny, H., Byggeth, S., Cook, D., ... & Haraldsson, H. V. (2004). Strategic leadership towards sustainability. Department of Mechanical Engineering at BTH. Retrieved from:

Ulrich, D., & Smallwood, N. (2013). Leadership Sustainability: What's Next for Leadership Improvement Efforts. Leader to Leader, 2013(70), 32-38. DOI:

Zogjani, J., & Raci, S. (2015). The Role of Leadership in Achieving Sustainable Organizational Change and the Main Approaches of Leadership during Organizational Change. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 4(3), 65. DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2015.v4n3p65

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