Meet Mark Bole, Senior Executive at General Motors, Head of V2X & Battery Solutions

Meet Mark Bole, Senior Executive at General Motors, Head of V2X & Battery Solutions

How do you not just survive but thrive as an authentic leader at General Motors (or, indeed, anywhere)?

It's not very often you come across a large number of people who rave about their boss. But self-described servant leader Mark Bole, Senior Executive at General Motors, Head of V2X & Battery Solutions, has a following. He firmly lives — and leads — in line with his values. “It's not the number of people that I lead — it's the number of people that I impact,” Mark says. 

Mark’s glittering career in leadership and management spans more than a decade in a diverse array of cultures across the globe. This has helped him appreciate just how powerful diversity makes an organization. 

When covid came, he sought opportunities in the challenges of remote work, embracing the need to adapt. It was about “learning to be more intentional and deliberate about those personal connections that came more naturally when we were in the workforce,” says Mark.

In this episode of Finding Gravitas, Mark talks about connecting to the individual, the power of diversity, and leading by example — even (and especially) in failure. It’s about driving a culture where it’s okay to fail. 

Mark also discusses how leaders rely on their teams in creating an essential shared purpose. It’s important to always get better, but helping other people get better too is part of making an impact. “That resonates with people on a very personal level”, he says. “You see it work once: you do it again.” 

While storytelling and purpose go hand in hand, it’s crucial to be specific about common objectives. The combination of these things and “giving them wiggle room to learn, be creative and innovative,” is Mark’s approach to authentic leadership — and it works.

Mark and host Jan Griffiths discuss servant leadership as well as how harnessing the power of diversity unlocks real business potential.


Themes discussed in this episode:


●     Bringing your whole self to work

●     Living and leading in line with your personal values

●     Building a joint purpose with people

●     Cognitive diversity and making people feel safe

●     The simplicity of listening to people in order to support them

●     Not needing to have a specific plan

●     Following up as a measure of personal accountability


This episode is brought to you by Gravitas Detroit and the power of the internal company podcast, boost employee engagement, and amplify your authentic leadership message today – for more information click here


Featured Guest: Mark Bole


📽️ What he does: Mark is Head of V2X & Battery Solutions at General Motors, with a mission to help GM realize customer, financial and environmental benefits through energy services. A community leader in Detroit serving on boards and supporting initiatives across the city, Mark has traveled the world extensively during his career, holding positions in international operations and leading joint venture relationships.


💡 On Gravitas: “It's really getting better every day — not [just] yourself, but helping others get better. [It’s] people being able to trust you and just know you're going to do the right thing.”


Episode Highlights

Timestamped inflection points from the show


[3:47] Origin story: Husband and father first, worker second, Mark discusses his glittering career spanning decades across the globe and how it led him to where he is today at GM. His parents instilled in him the values of respect and consideration, and he still carries them today.

[10:51] The value of cultural exposure: Being an outsider can have its perks. “Many of us go through life with unconscious biases around diversity and inclusion,” he tells Jan. Through experiencing diverse cultures, “you suddenly get the ability to experience what [being an outsider] feels like”.

[12:40] Creating psychological safety in the workplace: Jan and Mark talk about the importance of a leader connecting with the individual in order to empower them.

[15:14] Thriving — not just surviving — as an authentic leader: Mark discusses the importance of awareness in making an impactful difference, and how to teach and learn from failure.

[24:03] Leadership key ingredients: Mark shares what he’s learned is the most effective combination for being a better leader.

[26:31] The power of diversity: How to embrace diversity and empower your team for the best results. 

[32:18] Pandemic pointers: Mark has found opportunities during the crisis, and has learned to be more intentional and deliberate about personal connections that came more naturally in the physical workplace. 

[35:37] Attracting Gen Z: Mark and Jan discuss tips for attracting the newest workforce entrants and how to leverage the gig economy to your advantage. 

[40:57] On Gravitas: It’s getting better every day and helping others to do the same. It’s also building and maintaining integrity. 

[44:29] Setup for success: Mark describes how he starts the day and shares some invaluable tips and tricks on personal accountability. First: managing expectations — be it within the relationship, the day, or the product. Second: “If I say I'm going to do something, and I don't do it, I follow up. I don't just let it slide.”