Sustainability change leaders across industries such as energy, engineering, agriculture, manufacturing and science/research have, in my observation, some common attributes as senior professionals with specialised and deep disciplinary backgrounds.
- They are passionately committed to the principles of circularity, net zero and sustainability change leadership and intent on influencing practices, processes and outcomes within and beyond their organisations.
- Exceptionally clever, they are most often postgraduate qualified disciplinary experts who are accomplished, published and awarded, who also know that despite a tendency for introversion, collaboration, networks, influencing and applied practice with not only experts from other disciplines but with colleagues ‘on the ground’ in businesses and communities, provide pathways to positive impact.
- As a generalisation, the behavioural profile is somewhat introverted, analytical, loves incorporating complexity while deeply caring and sensitive, perceptive, ethical, humble, honest, modest and shy.
- They are leading teams of motivated professionals who also feel compelled to positively impact sustainability outcomes and who are seeking strong, enabling, focused and inspiring leadership to help them navigate the long-term, complex, exhausting nature of the challenge.
- They understand the value of strategic networks and invest significant energy to develop and deepen relationships which help them access and mobilise the resources needed for positive impact.
- They’re driven by a sense of great urgency to enact positive change, but also feel that their practical progress and impact is never fast or big enough – certainly not at the pace they believe is required – which leads to an uncomfortable, exhausting and sometimes overwhelming sense of internal tension.
They are stereotypically C / S in DISC, blue/green in Insights and HBDI, concluder/producers, upholder/maintainers in TMS.
Such attributes offer both supportive and challenging aspects for the leadership style of the sustainability change leader.
For example, the ‘technical expert profile’ makes them brilliant and deeply knowledgeable in their craft but somewhat reserved and guarded with people they don’t know well – so mobilising change through others can feel especially tiring and challenging.
In fact, this is a typical challenge I help my clients overcome by demystifying influencing, applying targeted strategic networking approaches and helping them sustain the internal energy and drive needed for long-term change.
If you’re a leader of good people doing good things in the world who desires to make a bigger impact with more speed and ease but needs help to influence and mobilise change, reach out for a conversation.