The primary duty of the board Chairman or Chairperson (in gender equality speak) is to manage the board effectively. Individual board members are very weak before the executive team. Only a board is working as a team with one voice, can provide effective oversight and sustainability to the enterprise. To do this, Board Chairman must recognize that s/he is not a boss nor a commander BUT a facilitator. The Chairman must set a tone that enables the directors on the board to conduct effective meetings. One of the critical skills all Chairmen need is the ability to listen by giving adequate airtime to all board members to comment on the agenda issues. Only members with prior briefing and preparation deserve such airtime to save everyone’s time.
This means managing the board agenda for every meeting, the board team dynamics, avoiding groupthink risks, and ensuring that all board members get the information they require in time before each meeting. More importantly, the Board chairman must put in place effective board processes for example to ensure quality board papers and minutes to avoid wasting time.
Before any board meeting, an effective Chair discusses the agenda with the executive and seeks the input of other members to focus the board’s time. You don’t want to conduct meetings that are not strategic and effective. That is a sign of a bad board chairman.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, Mr. Strategy 2021. All rights reserved.