Meaningful Connections for Effective Board Leadership

Whether a Change Agent, Challenger, or Cheerleader; the individual personalities within a board create a diverse culture of skills, even when a seemingly difficult individual comes into play. In order to quell issues that may arrive during meetings with inhibitor-types, there must be an element of meaningful team-building to break down any walls that may exist between directors and staff. This will increase communication, comfort levels, and ultimately increase productivity. 

It is important to note that diversifying your board skill-set can allow for effective leadership when each individual is fostered into a transparent and team-oriented environment. Creating a standardized board nomination process will assist with potential applicant screening. A candidate may be ideal on paper, but introduced into a leadership role that does not foster team-building can hinder boardroom effectiveness and potentially an avoidable situation.   

Many team-building exercises exist - outings and field trips, local or extensive retreats, mystery rooms, outdoor adventure packages, high and low ropes – the list goes on. Knowing who is comfortable with what will prevent many awkward situations. Listening, patience, and flexibility enhance the comfort levels and thus, overall effectiveness of a board.

Deconstructing personality types is a good place to explore for evaluating your board as a group. A sense of self-awareness must be present – both within the board, and within the individual themselves. Knowing when and how to use your personal skills is a talent to develop, which requires cognition, team-building, and at times, light-heartedness. Collectively, a board must be consciously aware of the common attributes and qualities each director may possess. Being open may not lead to friendship, but at the very least predictability and transparency. Maybe even some harmless jokes around the board table – like some pom-poms for your Cheerleader.

When it comes down to it, the self-evaluation of a board may in fact break down each individual’s skill set, but may be difficult to put a qualitative value on the level of comradery within a board. When you really look at the potential list of “ideal” vs. “inhibiting” qualities within a board, an effective board member is one of self-awareness, team-focused, and comfortable around the table to be able to step aside when they breach those behaviours that tend to inhibit. Effective leadership stats with effective psychological development.