How to Choose Board Members (Part 2)

How to Choose a Board Member for a non profit oranization

This is the second in a two-part article on the competencies required in successful Board members.  What are competencies? And which competencies are required for board membership?  In this two-part article we will answer those two questions.

Competencies are the predispositions or characteristics that one observes in a successful candidate for a given position, in this case a board member.  Competencies combine values, motivation, attitudes, knowledge and skills.  Here are the second ten of twenty competencies that GovernanceMatters.com considers important for a board member to be successful in governance.  They are arranged in alphabetical order.

Perhaps you can recall or imagine the common scenario that repeats itself year after year when a board seeks to recruit nominees for elected to the Board of Directors of an organization.

The effort may be late in beginning, perhaps because there is no formal process for developing a list of nominees on an ongoing basis.  You might also imagine that it is difficult to find people who have the time and interest to serve in this way.

What we have noticed as being the most common characteristic of this effort is the lack of attention given to the competencies of the men and women who will hold the reins of power for several years.

11.   Inter-dependence – works effectively with others demonstrating commitment to the group decision or activity. 

12.   Logical thinking – breaks issues down into their constituent parts and predicts cause and effect in a sequence of steps.

13.   Objectivity – draws conclusions by impartial evaluation of other perspectives and views without prejudice or bias.

14.   Open-mindedness – maintains an open and flexible mind towards new information, thoughts and ideas, welcoming the opportunity to grow in knowledge and understanding.

15.   Orientation to resolve conflict – ensures conflict is resolved with justice and fairness in order to restore healthy relationships.

16.   Process orientation – makes decisions and seeks outcomes by consistent application of a logical sequence of agreed steps.

17.   Self-awareness – accurately assesses strengths and weaknesses and can manage them successfully.

18.   Self-esteem – respects and likes him/herself, confident in his/her self- worth and capabilities.

19.   Stewardship – makes the best use of resources while striving for high standards and a balance between effectiveness and efficiency.

20.   Transparency – has no hidden agendas but is open with information while maintaining the privacy of individuals.

In our last blog we reviewed the first ten competencies for board members.  You will find them below.  GovernanceMatters.com Inc. offers a performance review for board members that enables a board to evaluate each member according to these competencies.  We recommend that boards evaluate each member in mid-term.  If a board has a three-year term of office for its members, the entire board can be supported with this review in the span of three years.  The review is affirming, involving and empowering to any board member who receives the review.

Watch some thoughts on “How to Be a Board Member” coming in a soon-to-be-released blog article.

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