Redefining responsible leadership

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, business and political leaders recognized that the 2020s require new strategies and commitments to address the world’s most pressing problems: climate change, economic fragility and inequality, the skills challenge and the negative consequences of some new technologies. Responsible leadership is crucial to creating value for all stakeholders.

In January 2020, Accenture and the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers communities launched the Responsible Leadership program to create a new framework for responsible leadership and to help organizations cultivate environments in which it can flourish.

Our report Seeking New Leadership identified the five key elements of responsible leadership that help leaders deliver value on three fronts: organizational performance, continuous innovation, and sustainability & trust. It showed that companies that combine top-tier innovation with top-tier sustainability & trust, outperform their industry peers, with 3.1% higher operating profits and greater returns to shareholders.

Five elements of responsible leadership that high performing organizations display.

How to activate responsible leadership

The past year's economic, health and social crises have highlighted the need for leadership teams to embrace the five elements of responsible leadership urgently. The crisis is also accelerating longer-term socio-economic and business trends that demand leaders to embed these elements throughout their organizations.

Young leaders around the world are challenging leadership norms, bringing their own diverse experiences and backgrounds to shape and inform how they lead responsibly through these exceptionally challenging times.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion has been a common thread in efforts to bring these elements to life. From listening to diverse stakeholders, displaying vulnerability to enable an inclusive atmosphere, or ensuring that the latest innovations are available in an equitable fashion, leaders are living the five elements.

See how responsible leaders are creating value while leading with values.

"A new generation of leaders has put equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of their organizations. By exemplifying responsible leadership, they are showing how to create value while leading with values."

— Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer, Accenture

Addressing today’s societal challenges

Stakeholder inclusion

Fostering an inclusive environment where diverse individuals have a voice and feel they belong.

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Emotion & intuition

Unlocking commitment and creativity by being truly human, showing compassion, humility and openness.

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Mission & purpose

Advancing common goals by inspiring a shared vision of sustainable prosperity for the organization and its stakeholders.

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Technology & innovation

Creating new organizational and societal value by innovating responsibly with emerging technology.

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Intellect & insight

Finding ever-improving paths to success by embracing continuous learning and knowledge exchange.

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