Friday, February 13, 2015

Governance toolbox: Supporting board chairs

In honor of John Fulwilder's impending book launch on the topic - and the review I'm preparing on that excellent new resource - this week's nonprofit governance toolbox selections focus on the critical leadership responsibilities of board chairpersons.

How to get support and strategic input from your board chair -- I'll open with this post by John. One of the reasons, obviously, is that the insights he provides will be of value to nonprofit CEOs who want to make the most of their relationship with their board chairs. It also offers a nice sneak peek into what readers of his new book will discover as they move from page to page. Oh, and I can't resist a few great questions - like the sets that he shares at the end of the post.

The five star board chair checklist -- Speaking of great questions... Joan Garry's checklist comes in the form of questions that every prospective board leader should ask before saying yes. The complete set of questions definitely prompt careful reflection. But I'm especially glad to see questions that invite assessment of one's capacity to deal with the tricky human challenges that come with the job. Leading a board requires far more than sticking to a meeting agenda. Joan's questions remind us of that.

How to build a better nonprofit board: It's about the board chair -- Alice Korngold does a marvelous job of capturing six key board chair responsibilities that impact board effectiveness. While she's right on the mark with all six, I'm particularly smitten with number three (click on the link to find out what number three covers!). I don't know about your experience, but too many boards with which I've been affiliated still treat that function as an afterthought.

Top ten qualities of exceptional leaders -- Obviously, this one's not nonprofit board-specific. It's also definitely not a "roles and responsibilities" kind of list. But Dan Rockwell's "qualities" strike me as an excellent opportunity for nonprofit board leaders - or any leader - to stop and reflect on their internal capacities needed to truly bring out the best in themselves and others. That reflection has the potential to not only shape their potential impact in this volunteer role but in every other area of a board leader's life.

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