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The Characteristics Required for Effective Directorship

BY: SGI|7 November 2019
BLOG| Business leadership and strategy

Aside from the day-to-day activities that define a business, running a large corporation requires a team of knowledgeable individuals to exercise oversight and steer the direction of the business. This is, in essence, the role of a board of directors.


Together, they must “ensure the company's prosperity by collectively directing the company's affairs, whilst meeting the appropriate interests of its shareholders and relevant stakeholders," according to the official description as defined by the Standards for the Board, IoD. Ultimately, this collective is responsible for the success of the business, and as such, it is their duty to exercise effective directorship.


Click here to learn more about the Effective Directorship online short course


As is clear from this definition of duty, individuals who serve on a board of directors should preferably be highly qualified and at the top of their game. Aside from business knowledge and acumen, effective directorship also requires certain character traits. While these are not necessarily prescribed, these characteristics contribute to the success of the individual:


Excellent judgement

The ability to observe, evaluate, and make sound decisions is vital to effective directorship. A good leader knows when to delegate, outsource, and recruit. They also know when to intervene or get involved more closely without micromanaging.


The ability to lead others and to exercise influence

A successful director should be able to lead their team and guide them to stay on course to achieve the objectives of the organisation. They should also be able to exercise their influence in identifying opportunities or challenges and steer their team through it.


A strategic thinker

They should learn from experience, be highly effective in analysing situations and information, and be superb at solving problems. This is achieved through a combination of knowledge, experience, and intuition.


Be emotionally mature

This position carries a lot of responsibility, but decisions are often made in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment. This can lead to high levels of stress. Effective directorship requires an individual to be in control of their emotions and not let them influence their decisions negatively.



They need to be able to see the bigger picture and provide a roadmap for achieving future success. Their actions should inspire managers and employees, and also earn their trust.


You can build your experience and confidence to achieve this level of leadership. The Stellenbosch Graduate Institute offers an Effective Directorship course that will help you understand your role and engagement as a director of a company, teach you how to manage risk, provide you with practical boardroom experience, and give you the opportunity to work through real case studies.


Download the Effective Directorship Course Prospectus.


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