Flexibility and Trust Just May Be the Keys to Good Board Chair/ED Relationships

by on March 7, 2012

How much do you rely on rules and roles to delineate who does what to lead your organization? Effective Board Chair-Executive Director Relationships: Not About Roles! by Mary L. Hiland, PhD  (in Nonprofit Quarterly) shakes up the notion that we can or should legislate our way to good leadership and board chair and executive director relationships.

This study is from 2006, but it still rings true, based on what I’ve seen in lots of organizations. It’s important to have enough structure to help you get your work done together. But structure can’t build a relationship. That comes from trust, connection and common purpose. And only people in relationship can truly lead together. In our study, Coloring Outside the Box: One Size Does Not Fit All in Nonprofit Governance, we found that frequent communications and mutual respect/trust were the biggest factors helping board chair and executive director work well together. I like the idea of adding flexibility to the mix.

What have you seen work well in board chair/ED relationships? How do you define effective leadership at this level?



Previous post: