What does it take to be a CSR Leader?

Net Impact and The Carroll School of Management’s Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College recently released its full version guide of Corporate Careers that Make a Difference.  In it the reader can find nearly two dozen profiles of professionals who have built successful careers in corporate citizenship, practical advice for  job searching and long-term career development and insights on the corporate citizenship landscape and diversity of opportunities available.  What I found most interesting was the skills and competencies needed for successful corporate citizenship work.  So what skills does it take to be a CSR Leader?  The guide outlines eight corporate citizenship competencies.The following eight competencies were taken from the Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Leadership Competencies for Corporate Citizenship report (2010).

  1. Team Oriented:  the ability to endure personal challenges, put aside ego and empower others.
  2. Determined Commitment:  the possession of an innate optimism and strong personal belief in the business potential of corporate citizenship.
  3. Peripheral Vision:  the ability to gather and assimilate information quickly in scanning a broad array of trends and issues.
  4. Strategic Thinker:  the ability to think outside the box and chart the path forward.
  5. Systems Perspective:  the understanding that business and society are interrelated systems.
  6. Collaborative Networker:  the ability to build trust based relationships based on mutually beneficial partnerships.
  7. Influential Communicator:  the ability to convey messages in a way that engages and mobilizes others to drive change.
  8. Change Driver:  the ability to engage and mobilize key stakeholders and drive corporate citizenship principlaes and policies into all aspects of business.

It is no surprise to me that these competencies are primarily emotional and interpersonal in nature, leading me to believe CSR Leaders are most adept in “soft skills” that support communication, collaboration and employee empowerment.

To read more about Net Impact, the guide or  the Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Leadership Competencies for Corporate Citizenship visit Net Impact.

Image Credit: San Diego Shooter via Flickr under CC license.

Written by Emily DeMasi

Emily McKinin DeMasi is a 2011 MBA/ MA Public Policy candidate and Peace Corps Fellow at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her thesis work concerns Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States. She also works as a Research Fellow at Bridgeway Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in downtown Pittsburgh. Emily has worked as an Associate in a Private Equity Placement Firm in NY and as a Water and Sanitation Volunteer in Ivory Coast, West Africa. She hopes to combine her business background with her passion for development and inspire others in the fields of Sustainability and CSR.


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