Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is now a value creator. CSR carries the shared values for the company and the society. The concept of CSR in India gives an opportunity to serve the people and planet. Serving the people is the most attractive profession across the world, that’s why CSR has become an attractive profession in India. CSR is an opportunity to be part of the solution of many socio-economic challenges. In India, CSR is principally a concept whereby business organisations decide to spent a definite percentage of their profit either voluntarily or as mandated by the Law, towards building a society.
CSR programmes like any other social development initiatives are most affected by the quality of their implementers — the CSR personnels and the partner NGOs. Indian CSR sector is rapidly growing and has potential to attract young minds and experienced ones. CSR leaders are the change-makers.
If any CSR leader possesses the following characteristics and qualities, he/she can become a very good CSR leader within organisation and community.
The top five qualities of CSR leaders are suggested here:
1. Patience, caring, and kindness
2. Knowledge of learners
3. Dedication to serving people
4. Strong work ethics
5. Reading habit
Each of these characteristics or qualities are briefly described below.
What makes a great CSR Leader?
Patience, caring, and kindness
CSR is a profession of kindness. Kindness is basic human character. It is expected that all social workers and CSR leaders must carry a feeling of gratitude for the society where they exist and should think and plan for betterment of the society. CSR professional must be a caring person and must deal the issues with patience and magnanimity. Heartfullness is fundamental requirement for CSR workers. The great CSR leaders develop relationships with common man to understand the root cause of the social issues.
Knowledge of learners
Knowledge is the great power. Knowledge defeats social evils. CSR leaders should have open mind to learn and acquire knowledge and idea. A great CSR leader is one who has willingness to listen to common people – the most important stakeholder of the society. CSR leaders need to build trusting relationships with beneficiaries in order to create a safe, positive, and productive CSR environment. Ideas for the solutions come when you understand the perspective of others. Always remember learning is key to success. CSR leaders must have dedicated resource centre to acquire knowledge and idea. CSR leaders should be able to engage and motivate their team to learn. Deep knowledge and passion for their subject matter is essential for visionary CSR directors and CSR heads. In order to drive community transformation and development, CSR leaders need to rethink and research the root causes of problems.
Dedication to serving people
Dedication is core in professional life. Dedication refers to the passion for the work, which includes commitment to serve the society. A good CSR leader should be always willing to help and share time. Dedication towards serving the community can improve the quality of life, and preserve dignity and respect. The idea behind community CSR work is simple — CSR workforce must take collective action to generate solutions to common problems in their areas of interest. Commitment to deliver in ground is always good for serving people. Commitment is required at every level — from planning to performance and from building to betterment. CSR leaders must show their commitment within role and responsibilities they have.
Strong work ethics
The term ethics and values refer to the principles that establish what conducts are right and wrong for an individual and for a group. Values and ethics are key differentiator in democratic setup like India. Every CSR leaders must be a flag bearer of values and ethics in every aspect of their work and functions. CSR leaders must remember that they are social wealth creator for their nation and their behaviour can influence others. A great CSR leader should do almost anything to help their organisation and key stakeholders. If something doesn’t work, they’ll work with patience until they find a solution.
A good CSR leader must be a good reader. Reading is fundamental for human development. Reading is a great enabler. Reading helps a lot. The role of the CSR leader in organisation is not permanently fixed — rather, they have varying roles depending on their business priority and needs of the communities they serve. Organisations wiling to know what you can do for them, and how your unique skill set and knowledge will be beneficial for the CSR programmes. As CSR sector is a cross-sectoral field, it requires understanding of variety of subjects such as business environment, non-profit, social sector and public policy. Checking key CSR knowledge websites and reading CSR books can help a lot in acquiring new knowledge and updates of the sector. CSR workforce of organisation should dedicate sufficient hours to read more and more. CSR department can have a ‘CSR Library’.
(Article is authored by Rusen Kumar, a visionary entrepreneur, author and founder of India CSR Network, regularly writes on Corporate Social Responsibility.)
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