The crucial role of lateral leadership when navigating compliance

5 minute read

Compliance is no longer a buzzword; it is now seen within all industries as an essential business aspect. It is the backbone of ethical and legal business operations. Yet, that doesn’t mean that all leaders support a truly developed, comprehensive compliance program. And as I have experienced myself (and heard numerous stories from colleagues), team compliance can become stagnant or, worse, ineffective without the buy-in of the lateral leadership.

Ensuring adherence to your industry’s regulations and policies is not solely the responsibility of a dedicated compliance team or, in many cases, one individual. Lateral leadership—which involves leaders at various levels of an organization who may not have formal authority but possess significant influence—plays a pivotal role in this domain. The challenge often lies in getting these leaders on board—especially when they view compliance as an oversight impinging on their autonomy.

In today’s business environment, compliance is synonymous with risk management, operational efficiency, and maintaining an organization’s integrity. Legal implications of noncompliance can lead to hefty fines and legal battles. Beyond the legal realm, compliance safeguards the organization’s reputation, the safety of clients, and the support of staff—imperative in an era where consumers and investors increasingly favor ethically operated businesses.

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