This is to add to my other board series posts, and it’s an important one. As a board member you have a voice, and it is imperative that you know how to use it wisely and appropriately.
It is always important to remember that no one board member has more power than another; all members have an equal voice. It is true, however, that members may have different role responsibilities. An example of this would be the Chair (AKA Chief Governing Officer) or the Vice-Chair or the Secretary. The Chair has a role description, and because of the importance of this role (I talk about that here), it’s essential for the board to hold able and responsible the Chair. The Chair has, after all, committed themselves to delivering specific outcomes to the board. And effective Chair helps the board thrive, an ineffective Chair actually diminishes the board’s effectiveness – which, if left unchecked can derail a board entirely, sometimes for years.
Some of the ways you can empower yourself as a board member is by reading about the basic rules of governance and motions. Here is a helpful link for that. Many boards operate without using all the motions listed in the article and several often conduct business in a relaxed manner, but it’s still essential that you do your own homework. This enables you to use your voice.
I want to talk specifically about some behaviours that every board member should avoid as it erodes trust on the board and with the stakeholders:
Board members owe it to the stakeholders to do whatever it takes to keep the board healthy! This is why board self-evaluation, evaluation of board members by other members (at the board table), and a checkup with a consultant are valuable processes.
One of the highest qualifications for a board member is that of humility because all board members must submit their preferences to the preferences of the group. 1
But good leadership always begins with leading ourselves well. If we are a board member, we must take that responsibility and journey seriously, ensuring we educate ourselves on what is required of us and how our voice should be used at the board meetings. You have a voice, use it constructively.
Reverend Carmen Kampman
The Reverend Carmen Kampman is a woman on the road of leadership. Ordained with the PAOC, she is a steward of God’s call to women in ministry, and the founder of LEAD Women, a ministry equipping Christian women for leadership. She is also VP of Advancement at Horizon College & Seminary, and a graduate student in the Masters of Leadership program at Briercrest Seminary. Through study, discipline, and passionate encouragement, Carmen cultivates the deep wells of God’s grace and invites others to journey with her, to discover for themselves who they are and how God is calling them to where they want to be.