CHRISTOPHER KOLADE: Accountability, Listening Skills Key To My Success

Dr. Christopher Kolade is a veteran broadcaster, diplomat, scholar and administrator, with leadership excellence and outstanding integrity. In the last six decades, Dr Kolade has distinctly modeled leadership excellence and integrity in various positions held within and outside Nigeria. He has contributed immensely in promoting business in Nigeria. When we talk about Nigerian boardroom gurus, Dr. Christopher Kolade commands greater respect as a man who stands for integrity, ethics and the whole idea of corporate governance. His name is almost synonymous with these values as well as with Cadbury Nigeria Plc, a company he steered for over two decades as chief executive and later chairman of the board of directors.

Talking on his experience in Cadbury, Kolade said: “Sir Andrian Cadbury, was the one who recruited me for my job in Cadbury. I had to be interviewed by him in order to get the appointment. As group chairman of Cadbury, he took part in selecting people in strategic positions. That was why it was important for him to talk to me when they were looking for me as a Director of Cadbury Nigeria. When he presided over a meeting, you could see that he was a fantastic listener, he will make summary in precision and you would detect he had listened to everything very carefully”.

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According to him, “boards are set up because somebody needs to take a comprehensive, top level look at what the enterprise is doing that ‘somebody’ is the board of directors, which is the highest in the hierarchy above the management which it oversees. He says the attribute one should look out for in a boardroom leader which distinguished him from other members of the board are: “One, that he must have the capacity to respect other people’s views, the grace to take other people’s views on board with respect so that he don’t attend to someone on a platform of prejudice. In other words, the skill of listening to what someone is saying and the value of it.

“Two, leadership, the kind of leadership where people look up to you for things to move well. And they would only look up to you if they know that you will put yourself out as you expect them to put themselves out.”So, leadership and apt on interpersonal relationship are the two main traits a chairman must display, in addition to other qualities that other board members have,” he said.

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