Checklist: Building trust in the boardroom

Board members need to establish good personal relationships in order to build trust, says Mike Hudson

Mike Hudson
Mike Hudson

Boards are most effective when there are high levels of trust. This is hard to earn and easily lost.

To build trust, board members need to establish good personal relationships. People who understand each other and their motivations are more likely to value each other's viewpoints. Board members and managers frequently tell me that board performance would be improved if trustees spent more time together outside formal meetings.

Demonstrating willingness to compromise also helps to build trust. Show deep respect for other people's views. Ask open questions to show an interest in their perspectives. Being willing to say that you have listened to other viewpoints and changed your mind also helps.

Open communication is essential. Expressing one view inside the boardroom and a different one outside it destroys trust. Strive to be honest as often as possible.

When things go wrong, boards and management teams should be willing to admit mistakes to each other and use them as opportunities for learning.

Together, these actions should help to strengthen relationships and build trust between board members and senior managers.

Governance Advice

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