With our thanks, we share this rebroadcast of an earlier article by respected board governance advisor John T. Dinner.
A board’s overall effectiveness can often be linked directly to the quality of board leadership and the ability of the board chair to focus and leverage the directors’ collective efforts.
As such, the role and influence of the board chair on any board’s success cannot be overstated. The board leader’s job is a complex one demanding significant, well-developed skills to foster a constructive board culture, facilitate effective oversight, and nurture a productive relationship with staff or management. Board leadership is arguably the single most important board success factor.
The chair plays a critical role in helping the board act independently, keeping directors focused on the organization’s mission, ensuring the board understands its responsibilities, and maintaining the appropriate boundaries with staff.
Overseeing board logistical issues is the easy part of a board chair’s job. (If that part is also a struggle, consider Aprio) The real work comes when, as the board’s player/coach, the chair works to ensure a constructive dialogue between the board and staff, that the board works as a cohesive team, and that contentious issues are proactively addressed to maintain unity.
Board members and stakeholders look to the board chair to take the lead to ensure proper oversight. This includes ensuring that keyboard processes such as director recruitment, orientation and ongoing education, and board assessment are undertaken appropriately. Perhaps most relevant is the need for effective stakeholder communication as a means of engendering the trust and confidence a board needs if it is to be given the space, support, and discretion to do its job.
Since 1996, John T. Dinner Board Governance Services has helped clients across sectors and across Canada achieve their organizational objectives through excellence in board governance. In addition to helping boards improve their governance structures and processes, John Dinner is keenly adept at fostering trust and confidence in the sharing of power and authority between boards and those to whom they give oversight. John Dinner is a recipient of the National Award in Governance.
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