Leaders Working With A Board

He had started a ministry to addicted people. It was a vision. He could help people in dire straights turn their lives around and become clean and productive.

The ministry grew and became an organization. He found it necessary to develop new skills. Some influential people in the community had become members of the advisory board. He needed to learn how to manage them for continued effectiveness of the organization.

I worked with him for a while. Here are some ideas I passed along:

  • You have the vision, never stop passing it along
  • Invite individual board members for breakfast and lunch to share the vision and solicit ideas
  • Help the board find new members with specific expertise–fund raising, marketing, finance, contacts
  • Work especially with the board chairman to encourage team work and collaboration

There was a board I was on once where the administrator was a tyrant. It was “agree with me or leave” except that I was elected to the post and he couldn’t remove me. So, he resorted to intimidation. Didn’t work and he eventually lost the confidence of the entire board and was gone.

His replacement was collaborative both with the board and with the staff. Things worked much better.

Recently the local newspaper reported on a board meeting of a local public school. The superintendent pitched a personnel change. Several board members asked questions about the reason and the necessity. “I’ve done this a long time and I know what I’m doing,” came the retort.

Oops, not a collaborative move. The narcissistic ploy just doesn’t make it as a leader. There should have been an open, collaborative discussion before the meeting ever happened. The leader needs to solicit input receiving (and listening to) a variety of views.

When a leader is dysfunctional or when a board is dysfunctional, then the mission and well being of the entire organization suffers.

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