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The Role of the Board of Directors

  • 17th Jun'22

To have a dream of serving on a board and to actually pursue it are two different things. You may want to become a director at some point in your career. And let’s not fool ourselves. Many of us want to get into the board of directors at an early stage of our careersand there is nothing wrong with it. There have been several instances where boards have had young talents in the role of the board of directors. Now, it may seem like a relatively easy accomplishment. But here is the deal breaker. It’s not an easy accomplishment to become appointed to a board of directors. And while it isdefinitely a bright side of corporate work culture there is another side to it.

Another side refers to the many aspirants who never make it to the board of directors. Despite the hard work, the dedication, and the passion put together people fail to make it to the boards. And one of the primary reasons is a lack of awareness. Awareness to understand what it takes to become a board member. Lack of awareness to have in-depth knowledge about the board and its functioning. If I have to sum it up - a lack of awareness about the role of the board of directors is what holds people back.

First, they fail to understand why they should become appointed to a board ofdirector. Second, they clearly misunderstand or do not understand the various roles that fall under the responsibilities of the board of directors. As a result, they end up signing for the wrong role or get misfitted as a board member which ultimately harms both the company and its reputation.


Role of the Board of Directors

The board of directors includes several distinct roles that one must learn about before even applying for positioning as a board member in any company. It is important because the board of directors has to interact with almost everyone in the organization. So, the board must select someone for the role who can meet the high expectations that come with it. 

The primary responsibility of any board member is to lead and direct the rest of the board. The chief executive officer or CEO of the board of directors also acts as a direct link between the board and the rest of management. The CEO also has to keep up to date on all business of the board of directors.

To further understand the various roles of the board of directors let’s take a look at individual board positions:


Board Chair

The board chair is the most important role of the board of directors. The board chair assists the corporate secretary. They helps to prepare the agendas which can serve as a tool for the effective conduct of board meetings. During meetings, the CEO guides the rest of the board by focusing on the organization's vision, mission and strategic direction. 

The CEO must set a tone for the meeting that sets the stage for respect, collaboration, and decision-making. meeting. Furthermore, the board chair holds an influential position on the executive committee and works throughout the board to drive the agenda and identify priorities from time to time.


Board Members or Board Directors

Today,  board members are expected to represent independent and diverse perspectives. Also, as board members, they must always perform the functions of strategic planning and monitoring. Board members are seen as iconic personalities in any organization. When selecting board members to fill vacancies, boards generally look for certain qualities. The onboard board members will expect their fellow board members to be standout personalities who can take up difficult decisions willfully. They should also know to probe questions to examine all aspects in case there is an issue.

The board members must know and be ready to fully engage in all important matters that can affect the company. Furthermore, risk identification also has become an integral part of board members' work as it involves risks to handle more numerous and complex situations.


Corporate Secretary

One of the busiest and most well-known figures in any organization is the corporate secretary. Since corporate laws in all states require corporations to appoint a corporate secretary the hiring must take place properly.  For a corporate secretary, the board must take note that it will evolve along with recent corporate developments. Company secretaries are now considered senior positions with significant managerial responsibilities. The duties and responsibilities of today's corporate secretaries often require that the role be filled by a senior board member with specific areas of expertise. 

Moreover, corporate secretaries are considered the legal representatives of the company. Many companies prefer to select corporate secretary candidates who have a background in accounting or law. Some companies require that the position be filled by an attorney. Also, some corporate secretaries have dual duties as general counsel or some other legal role.


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