Board Members are People Too

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Published: 08th May 2020
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It is often said, “If you want something done well, ask a busy person to do it.” Most board members are busy people dedicated to getting a lot done. In our busyness, it is so easy to run from one commitment to the next, seeing people around us as either helping or hindering our efficient use of time. This can creep up on us and on our board until the ‘relational bank accounts’ of the people involved are exhausted. And while these accounts are invisible, the effects of relational overdrafts among board members become glaringly visible.

Perhaps you have heard the maxim, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Even around a board table of matter-of-fact, get-down-to-business people, this truth stands. It turns out, board members are people, too.

In case this sounds too “touchy-feely”, let’s remind ourselves that having an effective board makes the best business sense. Effective boards make effective decisions. And they do it at a reasonable cost. Boards work more effectively when the directors know each other, respect each other, trust each other, and honour each other. The better the people relationships, the better the board and the better the bottom line.

What Can You Do?
• Think of the people on your board including the senior staff person. Ask yourself what you could do to demonstrate that you care for them. Think of your own "deposits and withdrawals" for each individual. Are your actions and words making deposits of encouragement and support, or withdrawing passion, energy, and focus?

• An ideal opportunity to express your interest is when people are experiencing either high points or low points in their lives. The timeless principle that applies is to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.’

• Special holidays like Christmas and the New Year also offer excellent occasions to communicate that you are thinking of someone. Be deliberate to get to know your colleagues and you will likely see and experience how much your stronger relationship contributes to a stronger board. You’ll also have a richer life along the way.

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