By governance expert Mike Hudson
Trustees often come to meetings with plenty of questions and concerns written in the margins of their board papers. They are often less good at identifying all the achievements that deserve praise.
Research by the Compass Partnership and Cass Business School shows that board members are better at listening to each other and challenging management than they are at praising management. It also shows that chairs think they are better at praising management than chief executives perceive them to be.
Board members can improve relationships with management by generously acknowledging progress. Most charity managers strive to do their best for the organisation and appreciate praise for their efforts and achievements. A few words of praise can bring smiles to their faces - provided it is not gratuitous and followed immediately by criticism.
So when you next prepare for a board meeting, remember to identify successes and praise management for achievements. This will provide a more secure foundation for raising those concerns that you wrote in the margins of the board papers. It will also lead to greater respect and trust between trustees and managers.