Competencies of Effective Boards

By Bobby Peralta posted 21-05-2023 11:18


I was researching on association governance and saw this 2019 American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) publication “Recruit the Right Board” by Mark Engle, FASAE, CAE and William Brown.

The publication was based on the results of the ASAE Foundation’s “Board Member Competencies and Selection” study aimed at helping association executives and leaders refine or modify recruitment and selection practices to support optimal board performance.

There were five general leadership skill areas identified in the study as reflecting critical competency concerns for board members. These five areas are group skills, interpersonal skills, personal skills, technical skills, and personal attributes. There are also 12 major competencies considered as essential for board members, as follows:

1. Team orientation. Team-oriented individuals prioritize group goals over personal aims. This teamwork orientation increases task involvement by individual team members and creates cohesive decision-making.

2. Communication. A soft skill, communication is vital for board members to be able to share knowledge and interact with fellow board members in a way that is attentive and considerate to different perspectives. Effective communication builds a positive board culture which leads to board cohesiveness.

3. Relational. Board members must be able to build relationships with individuals both on or off the board. Relation building is a form of social capital that supports the ability to connect the board and the organization to key stakeholders.

4. Influence. Influence allows board members to leverage their knowledge, expertise and connections to the benefit of the board and the organization. It also gives board members the ability to challenge the decisions and performance of management.

5. Reputation. Broadly, reputation is how people perceive or recognize certain attributes and abilities in a person. The board, as a whole, gains legitimacy when individual board members possess a positive reputation.

6. Strategic. This competency has two parts: the ability to analyze issues and the ability to make decisions that set and support the intended direction of the organization.

7. Innovative. Related to entrepreneurial orientation, innovation is the willingness to innovate, take risks and be proactive which results to creation of new solutions and ideas.

8. Knowledge of the field and organization. This technical skill provides board members with the necessary context and information to make informed decisions and direction to the organization.

9. Expertise and experience. A board with diverse professional expertise and life experiences can produce greater levels of efficiency and reduce the likelihood of significant knowledge gaps.

10. Commitment. Board members who are committed to the organization work harder and more effectively toward organizational goals.

11. Integrity. An individual with integrity is honest and openly acknowledges where issues could lead to conflicts of interest.

12. Capacity. Board members must have the time and cognitive capacity to fully engage in governing the organization.

More than ever, association boards need the right mix of people to perform at the highest level and building the right board starts with putting up an effective nomination, recruitment and selection process in place.

This article was published by the Business Mirror on May 12, 2023 and may not be reproduced without prior consent from the writer and Business Mirror.

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