At Alpha Kappa Psi, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about socially responsible leadership and how to grow our members as responsible leaders. This means assuming a leadership role with the understanding that your decisions influence your teammates, your organization, and the greater community, sometimes with permanent impact. As we explored this concept, we put it into practice and documented our thoughts to keep ourselves on track and accountable. To share these insights with our brothers and the world beyond, below is a checklist for evaluating or developing socially responsible leadership, broken down by our three key practices.
Active Learner Checklist
Being a socially responsible leader starts with the willingness and effort to continuously grow in knowledge, skill, and competence. This is what we call an active learner.
How does completing this checklist make you a more socially responsible leader? By digging into the truth of each task, a leader can see beyond personal or systemic bias to act with integrity. Working backward from a desired outcome keeps socially responsible leaders and their teams focused on the greater goal, not the resources at hand to achieve it. And by being capable of applying past knowledge to current situations, you think critically about your own future and the possibilities.
__Explore volumes of data to sort out the truth from the noise when researching issues, objects, or courses of action.
__Seek to understand the difference between a cause of an issue or problem and a symptom of an issue or problem.
__When planning a project, start from your desired outcome and work backward.
__When evaluating your success or failure, don’t consider just the results, but also what you learned.
__When faced with a challenge or hurdle, explore various solutions by applying what you’ve learned in the past to your present situation.
Principled Decision Maker Checklist
Principled decision making is an integral part of socially responsible leadership. This isn’t just the process of gathering information and weighing possible outcomes of a decision, but also accepting responsibility for choosing a course of action.
This checklist encourages a socially responsible leader to be both organized and resilient. Documenting your process, information, and rationale means keeping track of how and why a decision was made. Being strong enough to assume responsibility for the outcome means that regardless of success or failure, the individual can still grow and learn from each decision.
__Evaluate the short- and long-term consequences of a decision with regard to family, the community, and the planet.
__Study opinions about the right and wrong of human conduct.
__Involve others in the decision-making process for a broader perspective on both the problem and opportunities to solve it.
__Document the circumstances that led to the need for a decision.
__Record the outcomes and identify what could have gone better to improve future decisions.
Change Agent Checklist
The final key practice of a socially responsible leader is to work as a change agent. This means assuming the role of driving growth by shaping the thoughts and actions of others.
Working as a change agent requires gratitude, emotional intelligence, and thoughtful and humble oral communication, potentially with people who are very different from yourself. Emotional intelligence is essential to navigate these encounters positively and learn something from each one. As you continue learning, you can change the world in a way that can help everyone.
__Practice active listening to absorb others’ perspectives and fully understand their needs.
__Build trust with others by engaging them in opportunities to learn along with you.
__Take steps to organize and develop your team’s written communication.
__Leverage social media respectfully to motivate others to act on community issues.
__Be sensitive to different cultural settings and listen before you give advice.
Let this checklist serve as a constant reminder of all the ways we can grow and improve as socially responsible leaders. Mastering the habits and traits on this list might be the work of a lifetime, but as you take it on step-by-step, we know you will find many rewards along the way.