Wednesday, June 15, 2022


Contemporary board leadership is sophisticated because there are many variables in it, and there is a delicate mix of mindsets, expertise, interpersonal skills, along with a lot of different attributes.

We live in a hyper-connected and interdependent global society, the business is complex, the world is complex, and leadership is complex. 

Corporate board directors as senior leadership roles need to steer their organization in the right direction. Vision, multi-dimensional intelligence, decisiveness, justice, listening, integrity, empathy, drive, risk-taking, humility, perseverance, etc, are all crucial to shape their cross-boundary leadership maturity.

Vision: Leadership is about change! Corporate leaders need to observe, perceive, and pay attention to the myriad of internal, external, national, or global forces that define and influence the way they do business these days. Nowadays vision is critical for today’s corporate board leaders because they have to navigate their organizations into the uncharted waters and blurred business territories due to continuous disruptions and ever-changing business dynamics.

A vision needs to adapt over time since the global competitive environment doesn't stay still; senior leaders’ vision needs to be the principal guide to high-level decision-making in strategic oversight and resource allocation in implementation. The spirit of the organization comes from the top; leaders should set the tone for “baking in” the vision into the corporate culture and drive change proactively.

Authenticity: Authenticity is the foundation to be a great leader. To be authentic and genuine first and foremost, ensure that your thoughts, voices, and actions are in synchronization with the right spirit. When you dig deeper in yourselves, the questions arise - Who are you? What make you unique? What can you bring to the table? Where do your thoughts come from? Why do you want to lead? Why should others follow you? Defining your true purpose is a helpful instrument to guide yourself, your business, and your relations along the other dimensions.

Being an authentic leader requires one to have a desire to do better than others in certain domains while creating themselves a platform of influence wherever they are. This must be relevant within boundaries to maintain professionalism in the organization. Authenticity and integrity mutually reinforce each other – authenticity is about being who you are consistently; integrity is about being real and incorruptible, having good ethical conduct, accessing trust, for improving decision coherence and building trustful relationships with varying stakeholders, leading business forward smoothly.

Cross disciplinary intelligence: Intelligence is a cognitive process involving rational and abstract thinking; it is goal- directed and purposeful. There is cognitive intelligence that enables people to process information, understand and produce ideas; there is emotional intelligence as a key component of an intellectual mind to help people manage their emotion cycles effectively. The most important capability of cognitive intelligence helps us make clear discernment and sound judgment. The board directors with cognitive competence understand the mind-set of all members of the team, they do not dominate discussions, instead, they encourage open critical debate, embrace diverse viewpoints, and advise management to lead transformative changes smoothly.

To solve complex problems and lead in the global environment, senior leaders with cross-disciplinary intelligence can gain an in-depth understanding of where all the boundaries are, the scope and context of complex situations facing them, see a complex problem with interactive pieces and “conflict” goals, understand the whole meaning of languages and cultures, the interrelationships, and interpret things in a cohesive way. A global senior leader with cross-disciplinary insight works through the context across the boxes to inspire alliance and expand their thinking box for systematic problem-solving.

: Being innovative is a state of mind to be creative, generate fresh ideas and capture fresh insight all the time. Creativity is a long-term endeavor. Creativity today asks for a more advanced mindset, global consciousness, and cognitive intelligence, etc to encourage independent thinking and alternative problem solving. Creativity and logic actually are the “hybrid truth”; without logic, casual creativity cannot connect wider, more meaningful dots to generate bigger ideas for solving problems that really matter.

Creative expansion cannot happen without imagination, passion, participation and interdisciplinary knowledge. Innovative leaders will build up a working environment to nurture a culture of creativity, enable cross-functional communication & collaboration, encourage the freedom of thinking and actions. The leadership exercises a key role in the careful planning of innovative activities to build the interdisciplinary nature of the team, to promote collective creativity.

Empathy: In the siloed industrial age with the command-control style of leadership, empathy is under-valued, even get ignored sadly because of conventional wisdoms, unconscious bias or homogeneous team settings. As now the world moves into a hyper-connected and interdependent digital era with information abundance, empathy is the single defining quality that will distinguish great leaders from the rest. Senior global leaders have to deal with opposing views, cultures, constraints and competition. They have to go deeper, not louder; first envision, then communicate; first listen, then make a conversation; first observe, then perceive; first understand, then be understood; first learn, then capture insight, and gain wisdom.

Cross-boundary leaders should understand that we all have different lenses, perceptions in the way we look at the world, it becomes easier to open your eyes to another person and initiate empathetic conversation with respect. When people receive empathy, they truly feel heard and they can communicate proactively and respond with empathy. It takes effort and we have to find our own words and our own way of saying them and become more focused on problem-solving. At the ultimate level It does take a lot of practice and is achievable.

: There’s known known, known unknown; unknown unknown, complexity and uncertainty are the new normal. A humble acceptance of a knowledge base that is lacking coupled with a desire to understand is greater than a desire to be right. Humility allows one to understand oneself, understand others, strike the balance of being confident and being humble, self-worth and the worth of others, and manage your own ego effectively. Leaders must have humility to admit their limitations; show learning agility to lead changes smoothly.

A great leader is a great learner, learning from those they lead and learning through self-development, being willing to look to others to help you reach your goal instead of going it alone. Too much ego has one thinking too much of oneself--minimizing, marginalizing and dismissing the perspectives of others. Humility is an essential quality that will keep the leader coachable and continually growing in maturity. There is a correlation between authenticity, confidence, and humility. Being humble is not lack of confidence, but knowing and being confident of your own gifts and strengths, knowing where they come from and being grateful for them and most importantly using them to enhance leadership discipline.

Resilience: We are all vulnerable at certain points, leaders are not exceptional. Resilience is the common denominator of all the greats. As we know that people need the right level of mental toughness for dealing with tough situations and overcoming varying challenges. Resilience or mental toughness is trait-based, people are born with certain levels of it. it is capable of being developed as well. Resilient board leaders sense failures, overcome setbacks with a positive attitude, be able to keep working and focusing during stress and disturbance, rather than reacting to stressful situations, in order to steer the business in the direction with calm and confidence.

Remember resilient people have disappointments, they sense failure, they just don't let the negative experience restrict them or scare them away. It is what leaders do in times of difficulty that truly demonstrates their character and worth. The corporate board directors with strategic resilience are able to see further and perceive better than others, set guidance about what core to preserve and what future to stimulate progress forward in order to drive the digital paradigm shift. If failure is inevitable, they make decent advice, individuals or organizations can fail faster, and fail forward, and learn lessons from the failures to ensure long term success.

With increasing change speed of digital dynamic and over-complexity of business reality. Contemporary board leadership is sophisticated because there are many variables in it, and there is a delicate mix of mindsets, expertise, interpersonal skills, along with a lot of different attributes such as Clarity – knowing your calling and acting from vision. Awareness – perceiving reality from new levels. Passion – instilling ethusiasticism to achieve more. Energy – transforming anger into passion. Responsibility – presenting ownership of the team, mission, business, etc. Learning agility - the master at learning, delearning, relearning, and making continuous delivery. A sense of humor is a nice touch, too. It is your mind that understands the surroundings and it is your leadership practices that ultimately contribute to a better world.


Really an informative article.
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