As Chair of a Board, you have many responsibilities and challenges. You are responsible for how effective the board is and how fulfilling the experience is for your directors. Apart from the fiduciary responsibilities of the board, you work with the CEO and directors to determine goals and how they align with the core values, mission, and vision of your company. There are several challenging aspects that you should consider when approaching board growth including board governance, board dynamics, and board assessment.
Having good governance for your directors is essential to moving forward. It is the basis of how your meetings are run, what you end up accomplishing, and what direction your board will move.
Good governance starts with a strong leader – the CEO and Chair must have a strong handle on how to govern the board. Structure and predictability is a good place to start. When setting an agenda for the meeting, determine what topics you want to cover but make sure you leave time for directors to voice any concerns or issues that you might be unaware of.
Board dynamics is basically how your board members interact with one another. This breaks down to an emotional level – do your directors trust each other? Do they trust you and the CEO? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know”, it’s time to improve your board dynamics.
The best place to start is with your environment. Create a safe environment where everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and are recognized for their input. This is as simple as quieting the room when one person is speaking and thanking them by name for their perspective. When directors feel safe, they will collaborate and perform better.
Your directors will respond to your emotional state. If you are frustrated or anxious, your board members will feel this and act accordingly. To control these emotions, you should look for secure attachment either in your fellow directors or with outside peers – reach out when you are stressed to calm your brain and remain rational. Board dynamics can be incredibly complex, but there are many simple solutions that make a huge difference.
At Level Five Executive we have several tools for self-assessment as well at complete board assessment. These tools look at not only the individual, but the bigger picture.
By assessing your board, you are asking how directors interact with each other and how their actions affect the board and the company they serve. Seeing the results of these tests and surveys will give you a specific direction to focus on in board dynamics and governance.
For more information on board dynamics, board assessments, and the challenges of running a board, email [email protected].