7. Strong ethics and morals
You only need to look at the ongoing fallout of one of the biggest governance scandals in recent memory to see how badly professional reputations can be soiled by lack of morals and ethics when it comes to leadership positions.
We are, of course, talking about the COVID-19 Partygate saga, which gripped the UK at the start of the year, when it came out that senior figures in the Government and Conservative party had been hosting large parties and social gatherings despite these gatherings being illegal under wider public health guidance for the rest of the country.
When the scandal broke in early 2022, widespread anger spread throughout the country, but rather than admitting their mistakes, the Government doubled down on their view that they had done nothing wrong - ultimately costing Prime Minister Boris Johnson his job, and the Conservatives their poll lead.
If Partygate shows us anything, it’s that the general public expect people in leadership positions to show strong moral leadership, to maintain scrupulous honesty and to lead by example.
Company directors should be taking clear notes about the potential impact of losing sight of your ethics and your moral compass when you’re in a leadership position.
Company directors are responsible for making some of the most consequential decisions at an organisation. As a result, it’s pretty obvious that strong decision-making skills will form a key element of what it takes to be a truly effective company director.
Making decisions is harder than you think. It requires having the confidence to follow through on your convictions and to take measured, qualified risks that pay off.
As this excellent blog by Sounding Board lays out, decision-making in the context of being a company director is a pretty broad skill that’s really made up of a series of smaller ones, like logical thinking, emotional intelligence and problem-solving.
How to develop the skills you need to be an effective company director
Of course, there’s no easy answer for how to develop the skills and traits that you need to become a truly effective company director. One approach is to learn by doing, and throw yourself in at the deep end, but that isn’t suited to everyone.
A good compromise is to study a dedicated professional qualification in corporate governance. We offer 100% online corporate governance qualifications, like the Corporate Governance Institute Diploma in Corporate Governance or the Corporate Governance Institute Diploma in Environmental, Social and Governance that you can study from anywhere, letting you improve your director skills whilst fitting study around existing commitments.
Whatever route you choose to go down to improve your skills, stick at it and eventually you’ll see an improvement. Good luck!
Develop your skills with an online corporate governance qualification. Download your free course guide today and get started.