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What is a Board Chair?

The Board Chair is the highest officer of an organization's board of directors. This individual is responsible for the smooth functioning of the board, ensuring that the board's agenda is addressed in a timely and efficient manner. The chair often acts as the liaison between the board and the CEO(Chief executive officer) or other executive officers , and plays a key role in setting the strategic direction of the company.

What are the duties of a Board Chair?

The board chair’s main duties are:

  • Directing the board: The board chair is responsible for making sure the board is focused and productive throughout its meetings. This includes preparing agendas, setting meeting times, and leading discussions.
  • Oversight: The board chair is responsible for services and activities in the organization. They must ensure that the organization is in compliance with statutory requirements and regulations, such as the fair treatment of employees.
  • Leadership: The board chair should be a strong leader, setting an example for the rest of the board and inspiring them to make decisions in the best interest of the company.
  • Advocacy: The board chair is responsible for advocating for the organization outside of the boardroom. They should be able to articulate the company’s mission and ensure it is maintained.

What skills are required to be a Board Chair?

In order to be an effective board chairperson, there are certain skills that are essential. These include:

  • Strategic thinking: The board chair should be able to think strategically and make sound decisions that will help shape the organization’s future.
  • Management: The board chair should be able to manage a board effectively, ensuring the right people are in the right positions and their roles are properly defined.
  • Communication: The board chair must be an effective communicator. They should be able to articulate their ideas clearly so that the board is able to process and act upon them.
  • Problem-solving: The board chair must be adept at problem-solving. They should be able to evaluate complex issues and develop strategies to address them.

What are the benefits of having a Board Chair?

Having a board chair is beneficial for any organization, as it provides a focal point for decision-making and oversight. It also ensures a balance of authority and engaged participation. The board chair is a leader who:

  • Ensures effective board operations: The board chair is responsible for making sure that the decisions the board takes are the right ones for the organization.
  • Greases the wheels of change: As the board chair, you can help lead the board in developing new strategies and ideas, pushing the organization forward.
  • Reduces friction: The board chair’s presence helps reduce friction between board members, creating a more congenial environment in which to make decisions.
  • Provides a culture of accountability: By advocating for the organization, the board chair is able to ensure that there is both a culture of accountability and transparency among the board members.

What are the drawbacks of having a Board Chair?

The drawbacks of having a board chair include:

  • Increased workload: The board chair is ultimately responsible for the board’s actions, so they have an increased workload and may struggle to stay on top of all the tasks.
  • Process delays: The board chair may not be able to move decisions forward as quickly as the board would like, as they will need to take the time to ensure that all decisions are in the best interest of the company.
  • Political power: The board chair holds a significant amount of power and this can create tension within the board.
  • Conflicts of interest: The board chair should remain objective in their decisions to prevent potential conflicts of interest.

Frequently Asked Questions

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