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Recently I wrote that leadership is a huge theme for 2022 (and if you missed it you can find it here).

Another big theme, and one we will be seeing a lot of this over the next half decade, is:

Community concerns are now unequivocally a part of work and business.

This has implications for us as leaders, workers – and citizens.

For business, organisations and institutions this means that what is happening ‘out there’ – increased expectations around community concerns, climate change, social health, expectation for fair work and pay, priority on people’s wellbeing – is also part of what happens ‘in here’ – in our organisations, teams, conversations with reports, stakeholder management etc. There’s less separation now between the two, and to think otherwise is to completely miss this moment.

The Edleman Trust Barometer report for 2022 has just been released and its conclusions are similar. The Edleman Trust report comes out annually and explores where we are as a world as it relates to trust. This year’s included survey responses from 36,000 people from 28 countries.

One of its big findings is that Societal leadership is now a core function of business, and this point will require a big mindset shift for many in organisations.

For more seasoned leaders, the research findings go counter to what you might have always believed – namely, your job is to run your businesses well and make a profit – (and try not to be awful – but only if that doesn’t get in the way of the first two.)

Not anymore.

Findings from the Report include:

1. CEO’s are expected to be the face of change.
The big majority of those surveyed want CEOs to be personally visible when discussing public policy. They expect them to speak publicly about societal issues their workers care about.

2. People are looking to CEO’s – more than government leaders – to show vision and take action in areas of concern.

3. Employees want more, not less business engagement on societal issues, including climate change and economic inequality.

For CEO’s, you must engage in these issues. Your people want this and believe not enough is happening. Take the lead and stand for something powerful. (The caveat in this is the CEO must represent the ideas and values of their people. Not pronounce out of touch ideas from ivory towers. That will most certainly backfire.)

It’s more important than ever to actively engage and activate grassroots leadership within your organisation. Who are you empowering? Who gets listened to? What influence, energy and impact are you dismissing because you are trapped in an old mental model re leadership?

If you’re not a CEO but work in a company, keep stepping up to get your organisation to take a stand on issues and be visible. More and more people are doing this – and this is the future. If you are concerned this might make you a target and jeopardise your career, create coalitions of others in your workplace to stand with you. This is what some of the people I’ve mentored have done successfully in their companies. Know that the wave is building toward organisations paying heed to societal concerns.

As citizens we all work in or around business. With the current trajectory showing that people have greater trust in business to solve our problems, there are (at least) two things to be aware of:

  • Don’t leave it to business, and think it’s handled. Business alone is not and should not be the sole strategy for addressing issues. We must also build up our institutions and governments to warrant the trust to respond and govern effectively for all.
  • We must hold business to account. With the enormity of our challenges, we can’t afford to believe that institutions without oversite will solve our issues. We must be diligent and proactive to ensure that the role business can play for good is actually played.

Are you seeing community concerns and business as intertwined? What does that mean for you as a leader, a human, and a citizen?

Leadership that is expansive, inclusive and activated is required of us now. It’s a lot to try and figure out on your own. If this is hitting a nerve for you, here are three ways I can help:

  • Pre-order my new book Lead In: Mindsets to lead, live and work differently
  • Download my free Leader’s Mindset whitepaper
  • I run programs and I mentor – all over the world. Book a no obligation free call with me to see how I might support you or your team.

I love hearing from you.

Till next week,

Much love