A Chairperson, among many things, is a leader. This is a tremendous opportunity to breathe into decisions and decision makers. I’m listing nine recommendations for the Chairperson as follows:
- Mind the Clock – The shorter the better.
- Maintain Respect – It’s the best way to receive respect.
- Discipline Staff Work – It’s what you do between meetings.
- Value Constructive Input – This is harder than seems at first. The default position of a board member is to raise the caution flag in order to be considered important (and to help the cause). Better is the boardroom where constructive comment is applauded and affirmed. The members will see the agenda item as something they added to and will own it better. It has to be intentional on the part of the Chair and crafted in a manner that doesn’t simply encourage “yes” people for the sake of being agreeable. The expectation is that the affirmation of the member is thoughtful and pertinent to the decision.
- Guard Against Biases – The bias will come in terms of subject matter, political persuasion, personal differences with individuals, and even process. Once deposited in the conversation, only a capable Chair can move through or around the bias without calling the individual to task. This is one of those moments where you save that conversation until later, in private.
- Facts are important – Often, a discussion will be hijacked by passion or sacred cow issues. While these are serious, the facts as best you know them are the best basis to make a call. The second hand reference or faulty memory of a board member can derail a good decision. An astute Chair will cull the facts and go forward. Let me be clearest here. There are times when the numbers project one thing, but the comprehensive facts like historic behavior, success patterns and vision are stronger facts to follow.
I have three more ideas to present on being an effective Chairperson. Stay tuned and serve best.