August 22, 2019
Improving Board Discussions
Start by being better listeners
As Board Chair, you play the role of leader and facilitator for board discussions but also have important one-on-one conversations with your Head of School. Improving how you communicate with your Head, how your Board engages in important discussions and how you facilitate those discussions can result in better decision making and board relationships all around.
According to executive leadership coach Joel Garfinkle, the key is working on your listening skills. He suggests making your discussion more about your hear than what you say. The article found in SmartBrief provides useful strategies to employ. Here is a summary of the tips from Garfinkle for yourself and your Board.
- Listen without Agenda - Focus on being present and fully engaged and put aside your preconceived ideas and opinions on the topic at hand. Focus on understanding from the speaker's perspective.
- Ask Questions - Concentrate on the questions you need to ask to fully understand the situation. Asking questions establishes trust and is excellent way to get to the heart of the matter without inserting your own preconceived notions.
- Recap - recap and confirm with the speaker that you have correctly heard what they’re saying. Resist the urge to rush to your own conclusions.
- Reflect - Before you offer your thoughts on the subject, take a moment to reflect on your own emotions and bias.
After going through these listening steps, offer your opinions. According to Garfinkle, you will be perceived as a fair, thoughtful and openminded leader of your Board and good partner to your Head of School!
Setting Yourself Up for Success: Tips for New Board Chairs
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