Leadership with Impact by Joël Tronchon
Léa Zolli Durand
Léa Zolli Durand

Leadership with Impact by Joël Tronchon

Interview with Joël TRONCHON, Director of Sustainable Development Europe at L'Oréal, by Anne-Laure PAMS, Director of Leadership Development and Executive Coach at Grant Alexander.

What is your definition of an Impact Leader?

"An impact leader is a leader who cares about a triple impact, basically the consequences of their decisions. First of all on the environmental level, but not only carbon. There are also resources, water, biodiversity. Then, there are the impacts of which he must be aware on the social level, therefore on the internal teams, on ethical decisions, on decisions of value sharing; and outside the company, notably, what positive impact he can have on an ecosystem of associations, for example, NGOs. And then, the last impact, it's important, it's the economic one, since all this must also be done with an economic equation that generates value for the company to be sustainable."

What are the characteristics, in terms of postures and skills, of impact leaders?

"What is common to all impact leaders is the alignment or coherence that impact leaders have between their personal value, a foundation of values that they have developed and their actions. That is the fundamental trait.

After that, there's a second skill they share, which is knowing how to work in an ecosystem, knowing how to work in partnership with different businesses, breaking down silos. That, too, is one of the things that is extremely common among impact leaders."

What fosters the emergence of impact leadership?

"Impact leadership emerges in organizations where, of course, there is a culture, quotation marks, that facilitates the emergence of these ideas or approaches. Of course, in cultures where managers and shareholders - I should specify, because there must be both - are open to these subjects, it is certain that this facilitates the emergence of an impact culture and leaders.

But there are also impact leaders who, themselves, with their convictions and the help of the external ecosystem, will bring these issues into the company and move management committees and shareholders. So it works both ways. You can't expect everything from the shareholders or from the general management, you have to propose approaches yourself. So, there is a mix of top-down and bottom-up that you absolutely must have."

Any advice for those who want to establish themselves as positive impact leaders?

"I would say that, first of all, you have to choose the angle well in relation to your own legitimacy of skills. Clearly, impact leaders, they don't necessarily all need to be called 'managers' or 'sustainability or CSR directors'. Clearly, in every business, you can make an impact. So my advice is to say to yourself, "In my current job, how can I make a social or environmental impact, even within a job that I know very well, and for which, moreover, I have legitimacy."

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