May 1, 2023

The Chair, the CE and the Directors: how to get along and lead a company

The Chair, the CE and the Directors: How to Get Along and Lead a Company

The Chair, the CE and the Directors: How to Get Along and Lead a Company

Behind any successful business, you’ll find hardworking people. Beyond the tangible things like the numbers, the sales, and the profits you’ll find it is intelligent, committed and engaged people who are the real drivers of success.

With a well-oiled team steering the ship any business can strive to thrive, but becoming a successful team starts with your leaders. The way that an organisation’s board is run can filter down to the rest of the team and have an effect at every level of the business. So, if you’re planning on succeeding, you had better start at the top.


Roles and responsibilities

Though it is a lofty position that comes with its fair share of authority, being the chair of a board doesn’t necessarily mean you are running the show. A chair who knows where they stand in relation to the CEO is going to be more respected and more effective at providing guidance. It is often the case that the chair of the board hails from a position of power, boasting a former career as a CEO who is used to calling the shots, but it is when these two positions of power clash that you can sow the seeds of conflict. 

A successful chair will be the CEO’s ‘guide on the side’ allowing them to make considered decisions once all the relevant information has been presented while showing the required restraint to let other members of the board provide that information and advice without bulldozing them.

The importance of roles and responsibilities doesn’t stop at the top, everyone in a seat at that table needs to be carefully considered and aware of the purpose they are there to serve. The best way to ensure that all board members know their purpose is to educate them on the shared purpose and vision of the company and the role that they can play within it.


‘Teaming’ vs Teamwork

When it comes to the board, it's smart to think of them as a sort of temporary team. They don’t require the same team building efforts as other parts of your organisation as they are only required to meet a few times a year where they work to quickly and effectively make decisions to solve issues and maximise long term value. So, because of the fast-paced and sporadic nature of boards, you can pour your efforts into learning to quickly scope problems and collaborate to provide fast solutions. This is often referred to as ‘teaming,’ the practice of gathering experts in a temporary group to solve problems that they may be encountering for the first and only time. 

Building a culture of mutual trust though is still essential. Ensuring everyone knows each other builds respect and respect builds trust. When you have trust and psychological safety in the team you will get everyone to share their views and everyone will feel they can challenge each other respectfully.


Respectful communication

With everyone at the table being chosen for a reason, you shouldn’t run into any issues where lines are crossed in terms of respectful communication. However, the best way to avoid it entirely is to set up a safe environment within your boardroom where everyone in the room knows the rules of engagement and how to conduct themselves within them. Your board members shouldn’t be afraid to share their opinion but should know that each member will be willing to challenge it if it serves the future of the organisation. The chair plays the role of ensuring open dissent is the norm and that ‘group think’ is avoided.

A common issue is lack of trust between the CEO and the board, it tends to show up in a lack of candour and information being given to the board. This is a very dangerous situation as the board will then be making decisions on incomplete or optimistic information. The chair plays the role of mentor to the CEO and needs to ensure that any issues or concerns are addressed early.


How Govn365 can help

Most people in organisations have performance reviews but most boards don’t do them. Govn365 can play that role. 

Govn365 has been designed to give organisations a fully transparent tool to measure and understand governance and give recommendations on how to improve their performance so that boards and executive teams are aligned and can address areas where there are deficiencies. Let us help you build the perfect team to succeed.


- Govn365