The Chair of the Board holds the most power and authority on the board of directors and provides leadership to its company’s officers. Whilst in smaller companies, the role is often merged with the Managing Director’s duties, it is still recommended that these positions of power be separated.
Chairing a Board of Directors requires a unique set of skills to operate at a world class level. The Chair is expected to be the chief representative of the company, defining and presenting the mission, vision and values for the wider public sphere. Their role englobes a universe of functions. They oversee the recruitment strategy of a board, its size and structural composition, with a correct balance of executive and non-executives.
They will have an innate understanding of governance, have a calm head, and ensure the board can envisage the future of the business. The Chair also acts as a mediator of the board during meetings which requires emotional intelligence, a crucial aspect of board effectiveness, which nurtures powerful governance productivity.
A modern Chair understands that its board needs to model an ideal culture following all environmental and social trends. It has been emphasised the critical roles the Chair and the Managing Director play, in creating those environments where everyone in the business can thrive, starting with diversity awareness in the boardroom.
As board leaders, modern Chairs can:
Ensure that the board itself is diverse, including women, minorities, and points of view; engaging in creative efforts to build the board candidate pipeline; and eliminating bias from the ideal director profile.
Create an inclusive boardroom environment that fully harnesses the benefits of a diverse board and encourages all board members to contribute and constructively challenge assumptions and perspectives.
Set the tone that D&I is important to the organisation by keeping it on the board agenda, asking the right questions and monitoring the relevant data. Chairs and boards can and do have a direct impact on the success of D&I within the organisations they serve.
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