These articles describing the CEO- Board Chair partnership are meant for both individuals, so I suggest the CEO shares them with the Board Chair. Creating a positive relationship between the board chair and CEO might be the most important thing you can do to support the success of a nonprofit organization. As you navigate the ups and downs of running a nonprofit, this partnership can keep the focus on the key elements that are needed to overcome common issues.

Tips for a Healthy Relationship between the CEO and Nonprofit Board Chair

Here are a few important tips that will help you establish a healthy relationship between the nonprofit board chair and the CEO:

  • The Chair Must Earn the Respect of the Board: Fairness, hard work and team effort are key to ensuring that everyone shares the same level of respect.
  • Engage Fully in Delivering the Mission: It is important that both the CEO and board chair are actively seen working in support of the organization’s mission.  Maintain regular communication with each other and other board members.  Keep the conversations focused on what matters most. For example, meaningful and tightly scheduled meeting agendas are critical to respect everyone’s time and what they can contribute to the discussions.
  • The Chair Must Build Trust with the Staff: The board chair should be accessible to the staff to reinforce the CEO’s work.  It is essential that these relationships are built on a foundation of trust in times of success and times of difficulty.
  • Support and Complement: The strengths of two individuals can be combined to create a dynamic partnership to lead the team. Take advantage of the available strengths, and be willing to step up to cover the limitations of the other person. Both parties should “have each other’s’ backs,” especially in the most vulnerable topics.
  • Establish Clear Roles: Set clear expectations regarding the roles that each person will fulfill. When the roles are clear, then each person knows where they are carrying responsibility and how they might provide support as needed.
  • Deliberately Build Board Culture: The shape of the board culture can be influenced by both the board chair and CEO. This culture needs to allow people to share differing views, while also holding individuals accountable for their responsibilities.

Whether you are establishing a new nonprofit or looking for ways to strengthen an established organization, Mirenda & Associates is here to assist.  We offer quality training and leadership support for nonprofit organizations. Contact us today to learn more about available services.