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Planning for Progress Judith Lindenau, CAE, RCE Board/Staff Relationships. 1. Build awareness of the similarities and differences in roles between staff and volunteer leaders

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Board/Staff Relationships

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planning for progress judith lindenau cae rce www judithlindenau com
Planning for Progress

Judith Lindenau, CAE, RCE

Board/Staff Relationships

learning objectives for this session

1. Build awareness of the similarities and differences in roles between staff and volunteer leaders

Gain a working knowledge of techniques you can use to strengthen teamwork between staff and volunteers

Understand the tools for keeping this relationship consistent from year to year

Learning Objectives for this session
inherent struggles


Board Chair

  • Has consistency and history
  • Familiarity with day-to-day operations
  • More familiarity with needs of the ‘customers’
  • More conversant with the organization itself
  • Temporary leadership
  • Has divided attention
  • Responsible for leadership of the Board and key volunteers
  • Must evaluate the CEO
Inherent struggles
chief duties of the board of directors

Determine the organization's mission and purposes

  • Select the executive staff through an appropriate process
  • Provide ongoing support and guidance for the executive; reviewhis/her performance
  • Ensure effective organizational planning
  • Ensure adequate resources
  • Manage resources effectively (the buck stops with them,ultimately)
  • Determine and monitor the organization's programs and services
  • Enhance the organization's public image
  • Serve as a court of appeal
  • Assess its own performance

Chief duties of the Board of Directors
determine mission and purposes
www.judithlindenau.comDetermine mission and purposes
  • Have a strategic plan
  • Review it annually
  • Put mission statement on every agenda
  • Invest in public statement of mission—sign, ads, website
  • Position the Board to continually think of the Mission
select chief staff appropriately
www.judithlindenau.comSelect chief staff appropriately
  • Resource:

provide ongoing support and guidance for the executive review his her performance

Document the performance review process in your policy manual

Insist on an annual review, in writing

Have review forms available for review committee

Provide ongoing support and guidance for the executive; reviewhis/her performance

Long term plan

Short term (one year) work plan

Business Plans for every project ( )

Ensure Effective Organizational Planning and Determine and monitor the organization's programs and services
responsibilities for finances
www.judithlindenau.comResponsibilities for finances
  • Ensure adequate resources (fundraising, management control)
  • Manage resources effectively (the buck stops with them,ultimately)
enhance the organization s public image
www.judithlindenau.comEnhance the organization's public image
  • Board as ambassadors
  • Active presence in the public eye
  • Ethics
  • Media Training
  • Disaster Plan
serves as a court of appeal
www.judithlindenau.comServes as a court of appeal
  • Member or Client Concerns
  • Staff Appeals
  • Media Investigations
  • Grants and resource decisions
assesses its own performance
www.judithlindenau.comAssesses its own performance
  • Self-Assessment for Nonprofit Governing Boards (Board Source)
  • The Drucker Foundation Self-Assessment Tool Process Guide, Revised Edition
what the board expects of the ceo


  • Team Player
  • Staff Manager
  • Business Manager
  • Communication Skills
  • Community Involvement
  • Personal Ethics
  • Impeccable Financial Management and Control
  • Business Development Skills

What the Board Expects of the CEO
what the ceo expects from the board

Legal Compliance


Hands off Management

Financial Support of the Mission


Personal Ethics


What the CEO expects from the Board
job descriptions
www.judithlindenau.comJob Descriptions
  • CEO
  • Committees
  • Volunteer Officers
  • Board of Directors

Keep in your policy manual. Review annually!


1. Have clearly written and approved procedures for evaluating the chief executive and in an approach that ensures strong input from the chief executive.

  • 2. Have regular board training sessions that include overviews of the roles of board chair and chief executive.
  • 3. When a new board chair or chief executive is brought into the organization, the two of them should meet to discuss how they can work together as a team.
  • 4.Agendas for board meetings should be mutually developed by the board chair and chief executive
  • 5. Maintain an Operations Policy Manual, re-adopted regularly


6. The board chair consults with the CEO when appointing chairs for various committees.

  • 6. Have clear written guidelines about the roles of staff who provide ongoing support to board committees.
  • 7. Rotate the board chair position every few years to ensure new and fresh perspectives in the role.
  • 8. Develop board chairs by having vice chairs who later become board chairs.


10. Ensure all board members are trained about the role of the board, its committees and their functions, and that the board chair has basic skills in meeting management.

  • 11. The chief executive and board chair should never conceal information from the rest of the board. The chief executive should never conceal information from the board -- all board members have a right to any information about the organization.
  • 12. Celebrate accomplishments, including by naming the key people involved in bringing about successes.


1. Practice basic skills in interpersonal communications, particularly in listening and giving feedback.

  • 2. Whenever you feel conflict, identify to yourself what it is that you're actually seeing or hearing that might be causing the conflict. This attempt helps to differentiate whether the source of the conflict is the other person's behavior or some remnant of a relationship or situation in the past.
  • 3. If you're feeling uneasy, then say out loud what you're feeling. If you feel there's conflict or tension between you two, name it out loud. (Dead Elephant Theory)
  • 4. Recognize that conflict is inherent in any successful relationship, particularly in a board if all members are actively meeting their responsibilities. The important thing here, again, is to name it if you think it's becoming an ongoing problem. (Abilene paradox)

control the meeting

The President’s Important Skill

Control the meeting!
prepare agendas for decisions
www.judithlindenau.comPrepare Agendas for Decisions
  • Advance Packet
  • Supporting Docs
  • Staff Recommendations
  • Timed Agenda
  • Trained meeting facilitator (ie, Chairman of the Board)