ChaptertOO Talent and Business Consulting
How Authenticity & Social Consciousness are Redefining Leadership Expectations

A Gemisode® Series – Part I

If you’ve been keeping up with the headlines, you may have noticed that leadership is undergoing a profound transformation, specifically what is expected of those in leadership positions.  Gone are the days when leadership was solely about authority and profit margins; instead, authenticity and social consciousness have emerged as pivotal forces reshaping the way businesses are expected to be led and operated. Why? Because employees and customers alike now demand more – they expect authenticity, transparency, and responsible practices. In the era of social media where every misstep can be magnified and scrutinized, they also expect accountability which means that leaders can no longer conceal themselves behind meticulously crafted internal corporate personas.

So, what do authenticity and social consciousness mean in the context of business and leadership? Everything! To set the foundation for understanding how authenticity and social consciousness are redefining business leadership, let’s first define these terms.

To us, authenticity is about being clear on and aligned to one’s values, practicing transparency (sharing proactively before being asked), and having an unwavering commitment to honesty (truth-telling when questioned) regarding personal beliefs and principles. Authenticity goes beyond mere verbal declarations; it demands a life congruent with one’s professed values, rejecting the temptation to say what others may want to hear. Lastly, it requires humility to acknowledge one’s mistakes instead of striving for an illusion of perfection.

On the other hand, social consciousness manifests as a genuine and active demonstration of awareness and concern for the world and the people in it. It hinges on the virtues of empathy and compassion, propelling individuals to contribute positively to the world. Social consciousness rests on the understanding that because of interconnectivity, our actions bear consequences that extend beyond ourselves.

Authenticity and social consciousness have become critical to leadership because the demonstration of these qualities builds trust, fosters loyalty, and inspires people to give and do their best. When leaders live by their values and are transparent about their intentions, they create an environment where people feel respected, valued, and a part of something larger than themselves. In short, authenticity and social consciousness are essential ingredients for achieving business success today.

How does one go about redefining business leadership through this new lens of expectation?

The journey of redefining business leadership begins with a genuine embrace of authenticity. This approach isn’t just about a leadership style; it’s about building trust in a way that makes employees, customers, and stakeholders believe in a leader’s genuine intentions. Moreover, transparent communication and vulnerability are central to authentic leadership.

Consider the example of Ben & Jerry’s, the iconic ice cream company founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. From the outset, their leadership was marked by authenticity and a commitment to social consciousness. They built their business on a foundation of the product (ice-cream) as well as advocating for various social and environmental causes. This commitment to authenticity and social responsibility has not only won the trust and loyalty of employees and customers but also established them as a leading and credible voice on a wide range of social, environmental, and human rights issues. They have, perhaps unknowingly, set the precedent for what it means to be a socially conscious leader.

Transparency is proactive;  honesty is reactive!

In sum, the key takeaway here is that authenticity and social consciousness are not merely buzzwords in the contemporary business landscape; they are the cornerstones of a new era of leadership. In Part II of this Gemisode series, we’ll  delve deeper into the practical application of these principles, exploring how they actively shape business ethics, influence leadership decisions, and envision the future of leadership and business. Join us on the next leg of this journey as we unveil inspiring stories and actionable insights that demonstrate how authenticity and social consciousness are revolutionizing the way we lead and do business.