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What Makes a Great Board Member

  • 29th Apr'22

The personal qualities of board members are critical to the successful functionality of the board and company. Integrity, competence, insight, commitment, and efficiency are essential qualities integral to a great board member. A great board member has a deep interest in the company's mission and purpose. In addition, they are visionaries with a big picture view and the courage to set the direction to achieve company goals. They believe in the integrity necessary to serve their interests and pursue the company's missions.

Great board members are even keen to develop a credible public and private image of the company with their knowledge of constituents and operations and their organizational and managerial skills. More importantly, they even keep board discussions confidential and speak with one voice when representing the company to the community.


How to Become a Great Board Member

While many may dream of becoming a board of directors, it is more essential to become a great board member. Only a great member can leave their mark with the applied knowledge and experiences required to run the company successfully. However, despite the best intentions, people fail in their role as board members time and again. Hence, here are some tips and suggestions to help you become a great board member.


Consciously Understands Their Role in the Company

Great boards are staffed by great board members who have a deep understanding of their role and responsibilities to the organization. They know they are there as directors and not as a leadership team. They are committed to fulfilling their legal duties. They have a clear understanding of the powers vested to them as the board and do everything regarding the welfare and benefit of the company.


Lead the Company

Even though they are not the leaders in the company, they get their flowers for the way they lead the company. They put people in leadership positions who can take the company ahead successfully.

A good board member can effectively delegate tasks and have honest conversations with the CEO and the others in the C-Suite. They remain wholly committed to the organization and look to significantly inspire others through creativity and innovation when solving problems.


Prioritizes Strategic Part Over Operations

Good board members understand their role and responsibility and how it plays a vital role in developing strategies. More importantly, they know the difference between strategy and operations and try to stay clear of the operation front as that's not their part of the job. However, it doesn't mean board members remain aloof from the operations and constantly oversee performance.

Still, great boards stay focused more on strategy and policy areas. A significant reason for it is that they are confident individuals who are sure of their hired staff. They believe in their abilities, aptitudes, and delegated authority required to run operations smoothly.

Committed to Development

The universally known quality of a great board member is that they remain entirely committed to the continuous development of their members, both as individuals and as a team. It allows them to ensure their knowledge about the business and its policies are up-to-date with modern governance requirements. They have to check the required skillsets needed by the company to succeed and often set an excellent example for others to pursue.


Regular Board Turnover and Succession Plans

We all tend to resist change, especially when a board is performing well. However, it's well known that a diversified board of directors makes better decisions in the long run. As a result, several companies practice regular board turnover after a fixed term. 

Board turnover is essential as it brings in fresh ideas and new opinions. In addition to regular board turnover, vital succession planning is also critical for the company. Together it makes for a balanced and effective board. Notably, the most crucial task for any board is to select the company's CEO. After all, It is pivotal to have the right person in the CEO's role as it is critical to the company's success.


Actively Participates in Discussions

Great board members actively remain involved in the company-related discussion, and they even talk to their employees and staff. Furthermore, they are great listeners who allow everyone to share their opinions. They know what employees, investors, funders, and customers think about their organization and value their opinion.


Works as a Team

The sign of a great board is that they work with those that have a clear sense of a common goal. They are even open to having healthy disagreements as long as it serves their purpose of taking the company ahead in the proper manner. They value and know that their colleagues have the company's best interests. They use their experiences and knowledge to create a great team spirit on the board and with the rest of the employees and even shareholders.

Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds achieve their careers and life aspirations. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.

Post Your Comment
kathleen ross

Terrific article Shellye! As you know, I am a big advocate for increased diversity in the board room. You have inspired and helped so many in this regard. Bravo to you!

2022-05-12 14:19:12

Sunil Munjal

When there is activist shareholder who wants to break the company, how should a board member respond if management wants to continue as one company.

2022-05-12 15:28:06


Great summary. Thanks.

2022-05-12 21:01:21