In business, corporate governance gains some attention to its value. You may see more eye rolls when the topic of corporate governance arises, yet it delivers a check and balance. No different with charitable organization. In fact, when a corporate executive evaluates a charitable organization, one of the first questions explored is governance.

In politics, with the current president, many discuss what the checks and balances are within our U.S. political system. Some wonder if these will be tested and hold. Whatever unfolds, many are glad in the system design that has weathered many leaders.

Governance is a necessary guardian angel. Leaders also need a guardian angel. While an angel conjures a kind image, guardians also exhibit backbone and mental strength. Guardian angels with an iron mind and fist may be a better way to think about what a leader requires in governance.

Leaders also need a guardian angel. While an angel conjures a kind image, guardians also exhibit backbone and mental strength.


Why Leadership Governance is Required?

More easily than an organization, leaders stray. Leaders are individuals and, left alone, too many lose respectful traction and veer into muddy trails. Take a recent Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business:

“…the percentage of CEOs getting pushed out for questionable behavior — lapses including environmental disasters, insider trading, résumé fraud, accounting scandals and sexual misconduct — is up over the past five years.”

More details are available, like how a CEO who also holds the chairman title gets into more trouble because of less oversight:

“The study found that 24 percent of CEOs who had been ousted and had both titles were dismissed for ethical lapses, while just 17 percent of those with only the CEO title were shown the door because of their behavior.”

Leadership governance may be the needed element to help ensure leaders fail less often and focus stays in the right place, right principles, right values, and right purpose.

governance guardian angel5 Crucial Guardian Angel Roles for Leadership Governance

While thinking through leadership governance, certain roles come to mind. With these roles, leadership governance gains traction and creates an external resolve for ethical, strategic, cultural, and community decisions.

The Pin Pop

In this governance role, the Pin Pop bursts the leader’s growing ego. Everyone has an ego. Keeping it in check is part self-control and another part accountability. Governance adds an eternal accountability check. With inflated leader egos, the air can be let out slowly, and other times require a quicker result.

Popping a leader’s ego keeps them centered in what matters most. Realignment is necessary from time-to-time, just like your car needs one.

The Guardrail

Leadership governance requires certain standards. Standards are expectations and metrics. Governance helps create the guardrails of what is acceptable and unacceptable. Just as the leader needs to be accountable to the guardrails, the governance needs to be firm, too.

Leaders are thrown many curves and try to weave around certain challenges or opportunities. Governance establishes the guardrails against going off the road of character and purpose.

The Sounding Board

Leadership governance is more than rules and standards; it is being a counselor and listener. Governance serves as a sounding board for leaders to explore ideas, challenges, situations, and possibilities. Too often, leaders get busy and ignore the sounding board time. Consequently, the leadership sounding board role requires a consistent time and schedule.

Leaders need a listening ear and a voice to be heard as a reflection point and sound advice. Good governance fills the sounding board role with meaningful reliability.

The Advocate

Leaders need an advocate, too. Leading through challenging times is tough. More than rough, it is thankless at times. Leadership governance needs to advocate for a leader who is working to solve problems, overcome challenges, and serve in a purposeful way. When the crowd of support thins, leadership governance can raise a voice for a leader working to do the right thing in the right manner with the right values.

Leaders with supportive governance enhances their tenacity to move forward in a conscious way.

The Damper

Energetic leaders bring a spark to many people and projects. All good as long as the reach is doable and creates more energy as milestones are met. From time to time, a leader may need a sanity check on how aggressive the plans are developed. Leadership governance can serve as a damper on leaders that overheat an organization or create too many plans that end up getting entangled and mired.

Energy enlivens others. Enlivening others to take on a big mission and goals requires the right support, budget, resources, and timelines. Stretching others is a good thing as long as it does not become twisted and overstretched. Leadership governance serves as a sanity damper when needed.

The Importance of Leadership Governance

Several years ago, the World Economic Council wrote about the importance of leadership governance, realizing that “behind all good leadership is good governance.” A reason why leadership development programs fail in companies, organizations and business schools may relate to the lack of leadership governance for leaders with great responsibilities. With great responsibilities comes a need for great governance. Responsibility and accountability pair well, especially with leaders.

With our current state of leadership discontentment in business and politics, a renewal is necessary, and good governance may raise our standards and accountability resolve.

Different guardian angel roles help keep a leader centered. Each role requires a steeliness and stillness, being the backbone while absorbing words and situations.