When is it Time for New Board Leadership at Your Nonprofit
The board of directors is the leader that nonprofit members rely on in times of adversity and look to when in need of inspiration. However, if a board is inefficiently operating due to certain officers or members, there must be a consideration of changing things for the better. A successful nonprofit has a strong board with qualified and admirable leaders.
An executive director must look around the boardroom and find the weaknesses of the board, whether it is from a certain individual or from the overall culture. Once the weaknesses are identified, then it is time to take the appropriate steps for a much-needed change.
Signs of Bad Leadership
There are several red flags of boardroom behavior that should alarm board members that it is time to fix things. Some examples of a bad board: complacent members who rarely speak during meetings, micromanagement of employees, unreliable individuals that fail to meet deadlines, opposition to decisions after board meetings, and losing focus of the mission.
Additionally, if a board fails to take a step back and look at their culture from an outside perspective, it will stay lost in stagnancy without a desire to do better. Boards that willingly choose to skip overboard self-assessments are blatantly running away from the problems that are prominent on the board.
Steps to Towards Change
A successful nonprofit is driven by the productivity and character organizational leaders demonstrate. In order to create dependable leaders, proper leadership training should always be a priority when new board members are recruited. An emphasis on keeping other board members accountable is also important, as it promotes a boardroom culture that holds members to the highest standard of leadership. Furthermore, the president of the nonprofit must consistently advocate for the goal of self-improvement for themselves and other organizational leaders. Leadership is a skill that must be constantly refined, which can be accomplished by the provision of educational resources and support from other board members.
If a certain board member is too toxic to keep their position any longer, then a process of impeachment can be enacted. Unethical and unprofessional leaders should be confronted as their negative energy can transcend throughout the organization and ultimately create a bad reputation for the nonprofit. In the bylaws, it must state that any board member can be removed by a majority vote of the board. As a toxic ex-board member leaves their position, there should be a qualified, yet, coachable replacement to take their place.
In order to prevent board members from falling into bad habits that are detrimental to the nonprofit, an organization should establish membership terms in its bylaws. The majority of nonprofits have board membership terms that last two years, with an opportunity to run a maximum of three terms. By fluidly changing boards it allows the nonprofit to be exposed to a variety of valuable perspectives that can further contribute to the nonprofit’s goals. Furthermore, when board members know their time on the board is limited, it will encourage them to devote their energy in making an everlasting effect within the organization before they retire their position.
A nonprofit is only as great as the leaders that govern the organization. It is important to create a democratic environment in a nonprofit, as it assures its members and donors that only the most qualified and dependable leaders will help run the organization. Leaders that act upon their values of accountability and continuous growth can make massive strides for an organization in the nonprofit world.
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