This week, Monique Leroux, Corporate Director, Senior Advisor at Fiera Capital and speaker at the Leadership Institute, answers our questions about leadership.
My answer will be classic. As a first step, there must be an awareness on the part of the CEO, the president and all board members of the importance of inclusive leadership. There are all sorts of diversities, but the male-female dimension is fundamental. If you are not able to achieve that, it is difficult to achieve the rest. Beyond setting rules, there is a question of state of mind where we recognize the advantage and the need to have a board that represents the stakeholders of our organization.
It’s really the “education” element that needs to be changed in our schools. To have more girls taking math, engineering, and technology paths. From secondary school, girls must develop a leadership oriented towards action and ambition.
Often the best in science will go on to health science and become a doctor. There is no parity problem here. While in the harder part of science, we still have a lot of work to do.
For women who have leadership roles in society today, we have a responsibility to lead others, to encourage others and to support others. I am convinced of that.
For me, there is a difference between management and leadership. You can have an excellent manager, who will manage very well with knowledge, experience, organization and his head. But when you talk about leadership, you have to add a dimension which is the heart. There are comparatively competent people, but you will see that one of these people will get you with their gaze, their conviction, their chemistry and their heart. This is where we will add empathy and benevolence. A good leader, beyond directing, organizing and stimulating, is capable of inspiring. When you breathe in, you are appealing to emotion, and emotion will seek connection with people.
That being said, to turn your question upside down, can someone who is just empathetic and caring be a good leader? The answer is: not necessarily. Can the person who is only caring and empathetic run a business well in a crisis situation? I do not believe.
The best leader is someone who has a skill in the vertical bar of the T that they can contribute to the team (journalism, finance, engineering, technology, human resources). Then, in addition to his job, this leader is able to understand the strategic issues and the connection of all the vertical silos that you have in an organization. Make the connections between technology, IT systems, human resources and customers, for example. It is the horizontal bar of the T. Finally, when you add a person who is able to connect the heart, his complete environment, all the stakeholders, there you have someone who has a very important potential for realization. Because you have both the skill, the strategic vision and the ability to shine in your circle, in your environment.
It’s a very simple image, but all the more important today, because organizations, corporations and corporations need to have managers, but also leaders who have this very broad capability. There are people who are good specialists, but will have difficulty acting cross-functionally.
There are several elements that emerged from the report, three of which strike me as more significant. The first is to set the ambition to be at least 30% or more women. The second is that a company or an organization must consider all of its stakeholders, both the state, if it is a state corporation, shareholders, customers, employees and communities. It cannot look only at the shareholder. As a board of directors, this leads us to develop with the management team a strategy of social, environmental and governance responsibility.
The third element is having a CEO or “CEO” who has this openness and this ability to form management teams that are going to be extremely robust. We do not have a logic of having CEOs who will serve ad vitam æternam mandates. Terms should be between 8 and 12 years (the average is currently 9-10 years) so that there can be momentum, momentum and continuous refreshment. The same goes for boards of directors.