Over the past week I have followed the discussion started by Rebecca Sutherns on the topic “Top 5 Skills for a Board Chair” (thanks Rebecca!). I thought I would take a stab at bringing some clarity to the discussion by summarizing the qualities listed.
After tallying the list of qualities, I separated them into six categories. As a not for profit leader, this is the list to which I aspire:
Personal Character: a passionate charismatic people-person who is honest, ethical and acts with integrity. This person is wise, discreet and diplomatic in dealing with organizational politics.
Business Skills: a strong communicator with attuned listening skills adept at facilitating discussion to achieve consensus among differing points of view. An understanding of basic financial and human relations principles.
Awareness Mindset: Strive toward continuous improvement, able to grasp the strategic direction of the organization and strive to achieve collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Ability to rationally make tough fact-based decisions absent of personal agenda.
Organizational Management: with a focus on good governance, maintain a positive organizational culture and cultivate professional and positive relationships with the Chief Executive and the Board of Directors. Ensuring a smooth flow of information, make effective use of the Chair’s authority to run effective and efficient meetings. Use personal influence and network to further the aims and objectives of the organization.
Organizational Awareness: knowledge of the strategic direction of the organization, the fiduciary responsibilities of the Board, and the overall roles/responsibilities of the Board. General knowledge of operations, and provide guidance to the Board in supporting staff in achieving the operational goals.