Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Building a New Board Team

Building A New Board Team

The leadership services department has been sharing information about the election and new board members making the transition to the district leadership team.  Several articles have focused on what boards and superintendents can do in preparation for the transition.  Today I wanted to share the following thoughts from the perspective of being one of the new board members.
In my experience with most new boards members they are excited about “making a difference” in their new role.  I have met very few that did not have good intentions related to serving the student in their district.  New board member struggles almost always revolve around learning how boards work and their role on the board.  The following list represents some of the questions and anxiety that might be associated with beginning their new duties:

  •  Will I be welcome?
  •  Will I be equally included?
  •  What is happening in the district now?
  •  Who are these people? Can I trust them?
  •  What is the job?
  •  How do I get my ideas on the agenda?
  •  Will my ideas be accepted?
  •  How can I do things “right”?
  •  What are the expectations of how the team members work together?
  •  How will things change?
  •  What if we don’t like each other?
  •  Are my needs going to be met?

When a new team is formed it is important that time is allotted to discuss the “nuts and bolts” of how the board works.  The new board member workshops this spring will allow new members a chance to understand boards in general but it is up to the current board to ensure a quality transition for all members of the new team.   Our experience has been that effective boards are built on the concepts of good communication, trust among members that intentions are focused on the right work, and relationships among members.  New team members may experience issues with inclusion and isolation, which are associated with change but how long a team struggles often depends on how willing experienced board members are at creating a culture that is open, welcoming, and supportive of change.

Take the time to support the new team, it will be time well spent.

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