Leadership

What is leadership? One means of approaching this question is by noting that leadership is without doubt the most discussed boardroom topic. By far. Everyone has an opinion about their own ‘boss’ and almost as often about – in gaming terminology – the ‘final boss’ : the managing director, or, in a corporate, an executive from the C-suite: a COO, CDO, CIO, CFO, CRO, or ultimately the CEO: the chief executive officer.

In such a conversation about the boss, it is usually about the many facets of leadership. What characteristics make a leader a good leader, a strong and powerful leader, or a mediocre or even arrogant boss? he following assessment is usually made: what is she/he good at, and what is she/he not good at? Many leaders clearly have weak points, but if the strong points sides are strong enough, people will still support ‘their’ leader. At least, that is what psychologists and leadership coaches claim.

Business programmes and management book classicsYou can practice becoming a better leader. Every self-respecting business school and university develops programmes, and hundreds of books and thousands of other publications have been published with the aim of improving leadership skills: by changing or mitigating  the weak points and developing the strong ones. These publications are often eagerly sought after. The classic The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by the American author Stephen Covey has sold more than 25 million copies in 40 languages. The audio version has sold 1.5 million copies. It is no coincidence that this book is a source of inspiration for many leaders.   Leadership is also a major theme for Management Scope. Indeed, Management Scope focuses primarily on the CEOs of Dutch corporate companies and on their stakeholders: those who are in direct contact with the CEO, the C-suite. These include members of the executive committee (the ExCo) but also, for example, a company secretary, the members of the supervisory board or a chief sustainability officer. Increasingly, executives are specialists who occupy themselves with one facet of management. Several authors focus on executive education and on the psychological side of leadership. And on what is known as the ‘boardroom dynamics’: how do you create an efficient leadership team – one in which bodies such as the executive board, executive committee (ExCo) and supervisory board function well and also cooperate well?

Diversity in the boardroomLeadership also shows clear developments. For example, diversity in executive and supervisory boards has been a major theme in recent decades. For some 20 years now, women have been steadily taking up more prominent positions in boardrooms. Management Scope, too, is committed to diversity. Every year Management Scope publishes the Top 100 Corporate Women in the Netherlands, inter alia. The female role models in Dutch management are put in the spotlight through this list.  Another theme is inclusion. How do you ensure that in the top of the organization – as well as in the layers below – there is room for the opinions and thoughts of bicultural and other cultural leaders? Incidentally, this development is absolutely vital. As Dutch society has embraced more and more nationalities and cultures, consumer behaviour is also changing. Companies can hardly get a grip on these social trends unless they themselves embrace different leadership: in other words, inclusion.

Transformational and responsible leadershipLast but not least, the rise of transformational leadership and responsible leadership in the boardroom should be mentioned. The rapid developments surrounding the digital transformation mean that many companies are having to innovate at an ever-increasing pace and even transform their entire business model. Hence: transformational leadership. What leader has the qualities to really take his team on a journey, where existing rules are set aside and innovation is embraced? Change is difficult for everyone. A good leader must not only be able to ‘jump over his own shadow’ but must also be able to do so on behalf of the entire team, undoubtedly assisted by an expert HR department. Workforce management – what kind of people do I have, and what are they capable of, also on a human level? – is becoming increasingly important. Responsible leadership is perhaps the most remarkable trend. Stakeholders increasingly expect companies and other organizations to know and measure their impact on society and even to have a clear purpose, a right to exist.  There is no time to waste for the leaders of our corporates.

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Eight supervisory directors, six nationalities and 14 time zones: how does the international Supervisory Board of the medical technology group Philips function? The three best practices of Jeroen van der Veer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board (the only Dutchman on the board), and Christine Poon, the American Vice-Chairwoman: using modern technology, being flexible and embracing diversity of thought on strategic agenda items.

How do foreign supervisory directors experience their supervisory role at a Dutch company? Laurence Mulliez, supervisory director at SBM Offshore, points out the usefulness of an introduction to local governance mores during onboarding and advocates extra attention to team building. ‘Bridging cultural differences is not a problem.’

Christine Poon and Jeroen van der Veer (Philips) on the International Board

Eight supervisory directors, six nationalities and 14 time zones: how does the international Supervisory Board of the medical technology group Philips function? The three best practices of Jeroen van der Veer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board (the only Dutchman on the board), and Christine Poon, the American Vice-Chairwoman: using modern technology, being flexible and embracing diversity of thought on strategic agenda items.

Laurence Mulliez: 'Good Decoding is Necessary'

How do foreign supervisory directors experience their supervisory role at a Dutch company? Laurence Mulliez, supervisory director at SBM Offshore, points out the usefulness of an introduction to local governance mores during onboarding and advocates extra attention to team building. ‘Bridging cultural differences is not a problem.’

Bridging the covert differences in mores, culture and behaviour is decisive for the successful functioning of international boards. The key to this is a thorough introduction, a chairperson who connects people and mutual willingness to build trust.

Internationalization of Supervision is a Challenge

Bridging the covert differences in mores, culture and behaviour is decisive for the successful functioning of international boards. The key to this is a thorough introduction, a chairperson who connects people and mutual willingness to build trust.

De nieuwste governance inzichten op een rij

 

Om goed te besturen is er toegang nodig tot geavanceerd onderzoek, diverse pespectieven en thought leadership dat zich richt op de toekomst. Op de nieuwe website van Diligent Institute ontvangt u de allernieuwste inzichten over onderwerpen zoals digital transformatie en ESG. Ontdek Diligent Institute hier.

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