Some boards have difficult members. These people find it hard to balance robust challenge with building a highly motivated team that exudes great spirit.
Holding individual performance reviews allows the chair to give trustees feedback on what they do well and how they could improve. Most will welcome constructive comments that enhance their personal development.
These reviews should be written into trustee role descriptions so they don't come as a surprise. When considering such reviews for the first time, chairs should invite feedback on their performance first - a valuable role for the vice-chair.
Although time-consuming for the chair, reviews provide an opportunity to thank members, discuss their future involvement, persuade good trustees to serve for longer and suggest to difficult ones that they change their approach or contribute in other ways.
Ensuring boards work as a team was the strongest driver of board effectiveness in recent research by Compass Partnership and Cass. Holding regular reviews with each board member helps to create the collegiate team needed to deliver excellent governance.