16 Ways To Be A Good Chairman

One of the most important roles in any organisation is that of Chairman: a term used to describe men and women appointed to oversee the activities and strategic direction of the Board. But it is a role often misunderstood in its execution.

The Chairman plays a vital role in determining the success of an organisation as they conduct the business of the Board in a way that lifts performance. A good Chairman, therefore, must:

  • ensure the smooth flow of meetings and provide a clear and immediate focus for the work of the Board and chief executive
  • work with and influence others for the collective good of the organisation rather than for personal gain or reward
  • demonstrate the highest standards of behaviour and embed strong corporate governance and financial stability
  • develop a deep understanding of the organisation and communicate it to as wide an audience as possible
  • guide the Board in good times and bad, regardless of the detail or severity of particular internal or external setbacks
  • work through difficult challenges and not shirk from guiding the organisation in the right direction, regardless of any short-term pain
  • engage all members in discussion and ensure each contribution is made to its fullest effect
  • be aware of the choices facing the Board and present solutions in a constructive way for discussion and timely decision-making
  • lead the organisation and make sure all its activities are aligned with an easily understood and well publicised purpose-driven mission
  • possess a sense of personal resilience that acts as a point of reference for Board members and the chief executive
  • commit to the work of the organisation and convey its core vision and values to customers and other stakeholders at every opportunity
  • work with other Board members who may have strong and differing views to agree a shared outlook for the business
  • identify and resolve conflicts of interest and conflicts between members and, at times, work with the chief executive to shape the senior management team
  • invite discussion and encourage diverse opinions while resolving differences in an inclusive way that treats members equally, regardless of their particular style, contribution or personality
  • ensure the right people with the right skills and experience are in place, at Board and senior management level, to maximise the worth of the business
  • agree key strategic priorities and ensure good decisions are made once all relevant information has been presented to, and considered by, board members

Every organisation sets out to be successful and the appointment of a good Chairman increases the chances of realising such a laudable goal.

So, the value of a good Chairman is often misunderstood but their contribution is most valuable when unnoticed in the nuance of their influence.