Checklist: The best way to support the chair

By governance expert Ruth Lesirge

Ruth Lesirge
Ruth Lesirge

In my 20 years of voluntary sector work, I have explored the ways that we might provide chairs with the support they need to give their best.

The absence of an identifiable focus for their support and development is increasingly evident - a gap that could be filled by the newly launched Association of Chairs, of which I am a trustee. A recent literature review by the association suggested that we know too little about UK chairs, their motivation and their impact on organisational effectiveness.

It is undoubtedly true that some chairs are chosen because they already have the specific skills and knowledge for the job. But even the most experienced chairs can benefit from peer learning and support, given their particular duty to improve the competence, standards and quality of the trusteeship of their board members.

I believe it is essential to improve the effectiveness of the board, ensuring that all chairs are competent and skilled governance leaders. To quote my fellow association trustee John Gladwin: "Chairs play a unique and pivotal role in ensuring a thriving organisation. They need support, development and a voice." We can and must do better.

Governance Advice

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