Updated: Sep 30, 2021
It is easy to underestimate the importance of the role of the Board Chair beyond simply making sure that the Board sticks to the agenda.
So much of the work of the Chair happens outside the meeting itself – working with Board Members, linking with the CEO on a regular basis, framing the agenda plus all the other admin and planning that makes an effective Board work.
Actually chairing the meeting itself is a real art, and is certainly much more than just staying on time. Are issues well covered, does discussion run well, does everyone get a go, but then issues are wrapped up at the right time with clear decisions being made that are well captured in the minutes?
And are the Board making sure that the Chair does not just dominate discussions but rather encourages them and allow them to flow freely.
The best Chairs we see balance the role of making sure the Board stays in control, but also giving it freedom and responsibility; ensuring accountability is also enforced.
The Chair also needs to make sure that Board meetings are actually enjoyable experiences so that Board Members are engaged and focussed on contributing to the organisation’s purpose and vision.