In April we talked about the job description of board members. This month we will look at a job description for the special duties of the board chair.
The board chair is the elected chief volunteer leader of the organization. The board chair's job is not to decide everything that needs to be done, nor to tell everyone what to do, nor to do all the work. But by working with the board and executive director in a collaborative way, the board chair helps the board and staff develop a shared vision and makes sure through delegation, collaboration, inspiration, leadership development and nudging that the organization moves closer to that vision in a responsible way.
The board chair must be committed to and firmly focused on the mission of the organization and the priorities necessary to accomplish that mission. The board chair constantly asks him/herself, board and executive director (whose job it is to manage the paid staff of the organization) "is this the most important thing we need to do; is it integral to fulfilling our mission?"
The board chair makes sure that there is an agenda for each meeting and that meetings are meaningful, achieving specific objectives and reflecting the views of all present.
Like all leadership positions, the position of board chair is a complex one, requiring good people skills, the ability to distinguish between the important and unimportant, respect for others and vision.
The following is a basic job description for a board chair:
Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum. Send your comments and questions to Jeannebrad@aol.com.