What does ‘Responsive and Responsible Leadership’ mean?

The theme of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 is Responsive and Responsible Leadership

Oliver Cann, Head of Media Content, World Economic Forum Geneva


The theme reflects a clear need given the political changes of 2016 for those in positions of power and influence to listen to people’s concerns and expectations by providing a vision and a way forward for the future.

This means understanding why change has happened but also how we can adapt successfully; in a way that is inclusive, sustainable and progressive.

The Forum has identified five areas in which responsive and responsible leadership is most needed in 2017: strengthening systems for global collaboration; revitalizing the economy; reforming market capitalism and; preparing the for Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Forum’s work throughout the year is organized around 14 distinct yet inter-related systems, from Economic growth and Social Inclusion to the Future of Education, Gender and Work. Each of these are designed to leverage our unique convening power to foster public-private leadership in solving challenges that are critical to the future of our planet.

How can countries demonstrate responsive or responsible leadership?

The world is at a critical juncture right now, with persistent slow growth and stagnating productivity levels impacting governments’ ability to invest and putting historical levels of social protection at risk. But it is important to note that by not acting now, our world will be in a worse position in the future. This means;

Collaborating internationally to ensure that benefits from open trade and investment impact everyone and deliver societal as well as economic benefits; designing economic policies, education curricula and training strategies that promote inclusive growth; working together at the global level to fight climate change and protect critical global commons such as space, the oceans and the internet.

What can businesses do to demonstrate responsive and responsible leadership?

Market capitalism like any other system will produce elites but leadership has failed in three key areas. This is in failing to address rising inequality, short-termism and corruption. Business has a key role to play in all of these three areas — and a great opportunity to demonstrate its value as a responsible stakeholder.

For example, Bank of America raised the pay of its lowest paid employees from $13.50 to $15 in 2017.


Originally published at weforum.org.

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