Be Positive and Optimistic
Mission-driven organizations need to be intentional about optimism, and seeing the world as a set of opportunities rather than problems. This can be hard to infuse into an organizational climate.
Check your own mindset in this regard, and commit to doing your best with your behavior in this regard, in both overt and subtle ways.
Help Confront the Difficulty Issues and Disagreements, Constructively
Differences of perspective and opinion are a Board asset, and bring creativity and healthy decision making. Managing this well is a dramatic leverage point for Board performance.
Board members can fall prey to “nice guy syndrome” and avoid surfacing differences, and in doing so limit the Board’s opportunity. On the other hand, raising and addressing differences in a manner that causes embarrassment or inflames egos is also damaging.
So do it, and do it well. If you aren’t sure of yourself, get some coaching from a fellow Board member or the chief executive before the meeting.
Get Some “Day-In-The-Life-Of” Experiences
Find ways to work as a volunteer that allow you to get a true sense of the work and culture of the organization. Remember – show up a volunteer, not as a Board Member Who Has Privileges.
A series that addresses critical challenges of Board Membership:
Part 1, Joining & the Honeymoon Period
Part 2, After the Honeymoon
Part 3, Assuming Committee Leadership
Part 4, Winding Down, Signing Off