Qualities of an Effective Board Member
Leadership requires knowledge, talent, skill, vitality and the ability to make a difference. In the association environment, that translates into a solid track record of contributing to the success of programs, events or projects. Serving as an association leader is both an honour and a reward. It requires a proven commitment to the organization and its missions and goals.
Participating fully in board activities requires extra time and expense for attending meetings. Working together can prove vital in reaching an organizations goals and objectives. Well-developed interpersonal skills and ability to communicate are essential to effective teamwork.
Often, leaders emerge because of their special expertise or effective representation of a specific constituency. Leadership, however, may require subordinating those interests for the greater good of the organization. In essence, an effective board member brings their expertise and experience to provide value, but such experience and expertise should not drive the policy-making process.
Intuitive and interpretive skills enable leaders to understand the people around them, internalize the data they receive, recognize the relationships that exist between systems within their world, and integrate all these elements into a coherent whole. Focusing on policy-making, not the day-to-day operations of the organization is what makes an effective board.
By virtue of their position, current leaders serve as mentors and teachers to future leaders. Enthusiasm - a zest for serving the association is an important ingredient that leaders must possess.