Sustainable Leaders Have These Traits in Common
Sustainable LeadershipSustainability
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June 24, 2020
Sustainable LeadershipSustainability
Sustainable leaders often come to the idea of sustainability after realizing the long-term economic benefits.


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​The Bloomberg article, "Sustainable Leaders Have These Traits in Common​," featured Russell Reynolds Associates CEO Clarke Murphy ​and our new sustainability report, created in partnership with the United Nations Global Compact. The article is excerpted below. 

Investors have long used environmental, social and governance investing as a technique for finding high quality corporate managers, but companies have yet to do the same when looking at their own staff. As companies grapple with challenges from the coronavirus to climate change inequality, finding future leaders capable of managing and reorienting their business is going to be more crucial, said Clarke Murphy, CEO at recruiting firm Russell Reynolds Associates. 

Sustainable leaders aren’t just people with an innate desire to do good, but often ones who “woke up” to ESG issues over the course of their career, Murphy said. They also saw the economic benefit of focusing on solving those problems. 

“There is a mindset, and then there is a skillset,” he said. His recruiting firm worked with the United Nations Global Compact to come up with the top traits of leaders at companies that are performing well on sustainability metrics (such as Unilever and Hilton Hotels). 

Those traits include leaders who are multi-level systems thinkers, actively able to include stakeholders in their decisions, have a long-term mindset and courage to challenge traditional approaches. 

Companies that identify sustainable leaders sooner, and give them opportunities to lead, should be able to hit sustainability goals more quickly, Murphy said. They will also be more successful in the current tumult, and ultimately make themselves more attractive to long-term investors.​ 

To read the full article, click here.​