The election is just around the corner. The candidate’s campaigns are in full swing. The election is critical but the preparation and hard work required to make the new board members part of the team is job one. High functioning teams understand it is as much about building and maintaining relationships as it is about skills. New candidates will bring skills to the board but as leaders we must take the time to build the “relationships” that ensure success.
Communication and trust are two important ingredients in to any quality organization. Experienced board members can provide the important connection for new board members by serving as mentors. The following excerpt may help you prepare for the transition of new board members. It can be shared by the president and superintendent to enlist the support of your returning members.
The goal of mentoring programs is to orient a new Board member to the Board and District and to help him or her be comfortable, develop self-confidence, and become an effective leader. Follow these guidelines to maximize your mentoring effectiveness.
1. Be a good mentor by sharing your knowledge and experiences with others. Take a personal interest in helping other succeed.
2. Try to develop an informal, collegial relationship with the new Board member- explain that you are there to help. Listen respectfully to all concerns and answer quests honestly.
3. During your first contact with the new Board member, introduce your self and explain that you will serve as his or her mentor and are looking forward to sharing information about the Board and District. If possible meet with the individual to become acquainted. Be available as needed to provide assistance, advice, and support. The Superintendent’s office will provide current policies and other pertinent data to enhance knowledge and awareness.
4. Be prepared to introduce the new Board members at events until he or she becomes a familiar face.
5. Be available and maintain a helpful attitude. Your assistance will allow the new Board members to become an effective member of the Board and ensure future leadership for the District.
Being a mentor can bring rewards to you, the new Board member, and the District. Thank you for your assistance and commitment.
KASB will be hosting New Board Member Workshops around the state in April. It would be great to see the new members accompanied by their mentors as they being the journey.