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?



Hey Nonprofit Board Member: Are you governing right now? Or are you supporting?

September 22, 2011

Jan Masaoka never fails to make me think. In this week’s edition of Blue Avocado, the editor-in-chief nudges us to distinguish between the governance and support roles of nonprofit boards of directors; as well as between the role of the board as a body vs. the role of an individual board member. I love how this […]

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Welcome to our new website!

September 1, 2011

Welcome to our new website! I’m currently having the delightful experience of working with two of my clients, MetrCCS and Youthprise  in developing their own websites. I am reminded how important it is to have a clear, purposeful identity in the ether. And of the saying, “Doctor, heal thyself.” So here’s a new look at us. […]

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