Being an Effective Chairperson

(7-9 of 9)

Whether you’re a chairperson of the Board of Directors or a Task Force, there are some principles that will help you accomplish your goals. Here are the final three of nine:

  1. Mind the Clock – The shorter the better.
  2. Maintain Respect – It’s the best way to receive respect.
  3. Discipline Staff Work – It’s what you do between meetings.
  4. Value Constructive Input – Keeping it positive
  5. Guard Against Biases – Balance is helpful.
  6. Facts are important – Best decisions are based upon relevant facts.
  7. Be a Leader – Your primary role as Chair is to be a leader. How you lead the meeting speaks volumes about you as a leader. The way you listen, approach the agenda, handle the discussion and finally make the decision is all about leadership. This is a growing reality, but even that shows in a proper way for Chairpersons. Sometimes, the table will be pretty even either way on the subject. The Chair must discern the way forward and act upon it. Other times, consensus just isn’t right and you have to make the right call.
  8. Prepare Your Principals – There are members that have stronger positions in the room. You will be well served, if you perceive an agenda item to be controversial, by conferring with these individuals ahead of time. It’s better for everyone if the subject is clearly understood as well as the positions people might take. Undoubtedly, this will save you time in the meeting and give you a better chance at public agreement.
  9. Homework – Even as the Chairperson, you really want to do your homework. With this perspective, you’ll be in the best position to maintain order in the meeting and draw the appropriate conclusions. You’ll also be in a better position to sort out the priorities and impact of your decisions.

So being the Chairperson of a group is engaging and critical. There are times to defer matters and times to simply say yes or no with qualifications. A good leader is decisive. Let that describe you.

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