Monday, May 16, 2011

The Chair's role

In the last Inquirer there were reports from the trustee sessions run at the Annual Meetings in Swansea. I have written a letter to the Inquirer in response to the one about Chairs. Whilst it is important that those who chair meetings get the best that they can from the meeting this is not the primary role of a chair. Indeed I have been an observer on a board where the Chair of the organisation did not chair the board meetings.

So here is my letter and at the bottom some references providing more information about the role of the board chair.

"Whilst the chairing of meetings is important it is by no means the primary role of the Chair of any trustee board. The Chair’s role is about leading the trustees/board/committee and being the visible representative of the organisation. Some of the things that this covers are
  • Leading the trustees in the development of strategic plans;
  • Ensuring that the charity is run in accordance with the decisions of the trustees, the charity’s governing document, and appropriate legislation;
  • Ensuring trustee decisions are acted upon;
  • Acting between meetings of the board in making decisions usually within our congregations and fellowships in conjunction with the other officers; and
  • Representing the charity at functions, meetings and in the media.
"Whilst the word ‘vision’ is seen by some to be tainted with cliché, it is important for Chairs to have a vision for their organisations. In our local congregations and fellowships this means ensuring that not only do trustees carry out their roles with regard to supporting the spiritual leadership, managing finances, ensuring good communications and maintaining the building but that they also aspire to be ‘more than’.

"I don’t believe that Chair’s can, or even should, be neutral. They must be respectful of all views but only accept those that are congruent with the organisation’s object, its values and its strategic objectives. Chairs must be very clear about those values and the goals that the organisation is working towards. This does not mean that Chairs always get their own way but it does mean that they are clear about the processes for decision making and clear about the consequences of each course of action.

"A good chair is inspiring, providing other trustees with confidence in their abilities to both manage the present and to achieve more in the future."

Additional information

Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators: Model Role Description for Chair

The Trustee Network: Chair E-newsletter

National council for Voluntary Organisations: Chair's Role

No comments:

Post a Comment