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How to become a leader in circularity?

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“A leader is a dealer in hope” (Napolean Bonaparte) and it is not always easy. To be a leader means to be subjected to constant scrutiny and in spite of it, a leader is someone who is willing to push the boundaries.  

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the leaders of today are expected to be leaders in circularity. As consumers are pushing companies to take accountability for their actions, a leader’s role is now more important. After all each company is a breathing organism that needs someone to nurture it and guide it towards a purposeful, sustainable future.  

But who is this leader? Is this leader made or does someone become this leader? What kind of communication skills must the leader have? Is this leader a friend, someone in the crowd? Or is this leader someone away from the crowd, steadily overlooking everything? 

Let’s take a look at how these questions can be answered.  

1. Is a leader in circularity born with it? 

The answer is easy. No leader is born a leader. It is the time and hard work that an individual puts in to build themselves as a leader. The transition to circularity requires a redoing of the entire company. It demands workers and employees to learn new skills, develop cross functional communication habits, and work towards one steady goal. The leader in circularity might not be familiar with all the new skills that their employees are learning but they themselves are willing to restart. They understand that it requires hard work and won’t happen within a single night. The leader is at the edge of their mind and creates the conditions where everyone wants to learn.  

2. What kind of communication skills must a leader have? 

Circularity demands multiple developments across various sectors within a company. For example, if the marketing team communicates that the raw materials used are durable but the processing team cannot ensure that, then there is an imbalance in how the company perceives circularity. The leader in circularity steadily observes how each department is moving, and what kind of challenges they have to face. Just as circularity demands, the leader needs to put in the practice of transparent communication and getting the message right for all departments.  

3. Is the leader a friend or royalty? 

Let’s say that a leader in circularity is a little bit of both. Driving a change towards circular economy requires not just knowledge but also the understanding that such a change has to happen at a macro level. The leader should be able to put themselves in the shoes of others to help them adapt to the change on a personal level. As changes come with struggles, the leader’s ability to empathize with the employees can be encouraging. This can tap into unrealized creation potentials that are always a driving force towards circularity.  

Developing oneself as a leader in circularity can be challenging but it is also the key to what makes a reliable leader. Inchainge’s business simulation games assert the importance of circularity across all departments within a company. They give participants a sense of real-world struggles and the scope to explore their roles as leaders. The kind of decisions that they have to make within a limited time and budget is a realistic reflection of the challenges a leader in circularity has to deal with.  

Successful leaders in circularity promote a sense of belonging for their team. They know what they want and they can encourage and foster vital qualities within their team members.  

Do you want to explore what it takes to be a leader in circularity? Check out our business simulation game, The Blue Connection to engage in a transformational journey to circularity.