Twenty-first Century Board Leadership – The Enlightened Approach of Seven Mantras

Rita Goyal, Nada Kakabadse, Andrew Kakabadse, Danielle Talbot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite an increasing remit and recognition of the role of the board Chair, resources which effective Chairs of twenty first century deploy remains inadequately explored in the existing literature. This paper addresses this gap through the innovative use of 57 face-to-face, elite interviews with board members and provides new insights into the best practices of Chairs of the largest listed companies in the UK. The findings of the study indicate that effective leadership of boards requires an enlightened approach with seven Mantras of effective board leading being commonly employed. These Mantras are support for the CEO, value-based conduct, experiential influence, commitment to diverse perspective, inclusive communication, intuitive conflict resolution, and reflection. The paper makes a three-fold contribution: to resource-based theory and enlightened leadership theory; to literature on board Chair effectiveness; and praxis of leading in the twenty-first century.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Publication statusSubmitted - 2023


  • enlightened leadership
  • effective chairs
  • board leadership
  • mantras


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