Monday, October 31, 2011

Green Leadership

Many companies and organisations actively seek to ensure they have a sound environmental policy. But how often do companies think “Green” about their most important resource and source of energy – the people that work for them. Are there ways of thinking emerging from environmental considerations that could also be applied to the usage of human time and energy in the workplace?

Let’s consider a few:

Energy efficiency

Are the processes and communications in your organisation or team optimally efficient in the usage of time and energy? How much energy is wasted in unnecessary emails, excessive reporting and ineffective meetings for example? Is the organisation encumbered by any outmoded processes or systems for getting things done? It’s a big question but the way to tackle it is to start incrementally. Ask your team what single improvement would make the most difference towards more effective use of their time and energy – and start there.

Alternative approaches and technologies

Organisations and teams often get lost in the processes they use and the way they do things – often simply because that’s always how they’ve done things. Yet the ability to “challenge the process” is an important leadership competence.  It means stepping back from “how” things are done, focusing clearly on the end goal and asking yourself “Is there an alternative approach to achieving the intended result?” – one that is more innovative, competitive and effective - even if radically different.


Energy and motivation within a team or organisation needs to be renewed regularly – otherwise depletion occurs. Regularly involving people in the vision, strategy and direction of a team harnesses the creativity and inspiration within the team, makes people feel more valued and renews the sense of purpose and motivation.


Is the workload demand within the team or organisation sustainable? Is the drive to achieve more with less realistic and achievable? Or is the organisation so lean that excessive working hours and stress levels will simply lead to higher employee attrition rates, loss of morale and impaired work-life balance?

CO2 emissions

What are the toxins in the working atmosphere and what can you do to reduce them? One essential leadership competence, and often the hardest one to learn, is to be open to feedback. If people have concerns or issues do they readily feel they can approach you as a leader? If people feel able to express their concerns and that they are actively listened too, it helps reduce the build-up of frustration, resentment and unresolved relationship difficulties. 

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