Six do’s and don’ts for a new board member
- Know your role
- If you don’t know your role, you can become entangled in side agreements, people-pleasing tendencies, and even resort to attempts to dominate and control.
- Understand the strategy
- Not understanding the organisation’s strategy can result in a lot of strategy talk and minimal grounding it into practices, decisions and day-to-day activities.
- Move people through influencing
- The misuse of power is manipulation. It would be best if you influenced, not manipulated, and you will win by encouraging collective outcomes.
- Manage expectations
- You may fall if you don’t manage your fellow board members’ expectations of what you can deliver. Nobody is perfect, and saying yes all the time, avoiding responsibility, feeling “not good enough”, and constant firefighting will be the hallmarks of poor expectation management.
- Hold a standard for good communication
- Examples of not holding standards for communication include feeling out of sync but not saying anything, ignoring inappropriate comments, jokes or gestures. You must avoid going with the flow, ignoring unacceptable things, not speaking up and abiding by invisible rules.
- Build your confidence through more knowledge, but don’t let this rush for knowledge dominate everything you do. Be confident to say ‘I don’t know’ and never try to dominate proceedings in an ‘I know it all’ way.
Síle Walsh explains that it is common for new board members to experience imposter syndrome and anxiety. They will often resort to defensive behaviours that further undermine their authority. However, there are alternatives, and this video describes how new board members can succeed while navigating new environments.
Síle Walsh specialises in inclusion and leadership, with a background in coaching psychology and organisational development, and over ten years working with clients in Ireland and internationally.
Síle was voted in the top ten coaches in Dublin by ‘Influence and Digest’ and has spoken on several stages.
Besides writing two books in the Authentic Journey Series, Sile has contributed to many media outlets (TV, radio, print & online publications).
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