Leadership Blog

For All the Soft Talk, Boards Go for Hard Skills

A study conducted by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford Graduate School of Business, reveals that boardrooms in the US still prioritise financial performance above all else and are giving poor grades to chief executives for their mentoring skills and board engagement.

We suspect that when you peel away the rhetoric, the same would be true of most boards, public and private, in the UK and Ireland.  For all the talk, boards still go for the hard skills.

Stay In Touch With Emotions

Some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others and research generally supports the finding that leaders get better results for their organisations where they act in an emotionally intelligent way.  All of the research we have seen on engagement and motivation at work supports this view.

There is More Than One Leader Around a Board

Recent research (2013) from the University of Aberdeen Knowledge Exchange has provided some further insight into the world of shared and distributed leadership in the context of governance and boardroom practice.

Based on structured interviews across the boards of public bodies (14) it addressed questions, amongst others, relating to the distinctive role of the  board and its senior executives and more specifically, that of chair and chief executive. 

Some of the findings in relation to the board/executive role include:

Leaders Need Not Risk Roads to Ruin

Roads to Ruin is a Cass Busness School report based on a study of major risk events, their origins, impact and implications.  It is an interesting read (for those involved in corporate governance and risk) and the results have important lessons for all leaders and especially boards of directors, chairs and chief executives.  It covers the recent past or at least the last ten years and in governance terms, it is fairly up-to-date.

A Story of Facilitation

Reading Dale Hunter’s revised edition of The Art of Facilitation (2007) we were struck with the following Zen story that illustrates the power of process and the need to give time to discover, learn and practice to achieve really great results.  Respecting process is important for facilitative leadership and a leader's effectiveness in developing others and creating great teams.  

The story is called The Taste of Banzo's Sword and reads as follows:

Mission Statements: Can you identify the organisations?

Listed below are 15 mission statements from well-known organisations.  Can you identify them from their mission?  Email us at info@stellarleadership.com and we’ll send you the answers.

20 Bad Things Leaders Do

One leadership guru (Marshall Goldsmith) has produced a list of 20 common failures in how leaders behave. You might spend a moment ticking off which ones you are guilty of and pick one that you will stop doing this week.  Be honest. If you can’t be honest enough, ask someone else to do it for you.  They are in no particular order of significance.

1.Winning Too Much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations—when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.

Level Five Leadership Explained

According to the results of a five-year research project published in 2001 by Jim Collins (Good to Great) an organisation’s success is even more closely connected with the quality of its leader than initially believed.  The study surveyed companies that, having performed well below average over an extended timeframe, had suddenly manifested a rapid turnaround in profitability that was sustained over time.  There weren’t many; just eleven out of a total of 1,435 Fortune 500 companies and since the study, even some of the listed ‘greats’ have suffered since.

Storytelling is a Vital for Developing Leaders

Most of us can remember lying in bed and having someone read us a bedtime story. We were whisked away to places we could only dream of. Or we may remember sitting around a table after a meal and listening to our parents or grandparents tell stories that helped us understand a bit more about who they were and where our family came from and what we believed in.

Some More Leadership Quotes from Stellar

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

 Albert Camus

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