New Nonprofit Leaders: Stop and listen before beginning your year.
Congratulations on being chosen to lead your organization in the coming year. In order to have the most successful year as leader of a board of directors of a nonprofit or other organization it would be useful to understand why the members of the board are serving. These are some thoughts on what you as the incoming leader might consider.
One of the more basic human emotional needs is to belong to a group. The extent to which they feel that they belong to your group will be a factor in determining the success of your year of leadership. So how do you find out what your members need? Well, why not just call and ask them? Or better yet, simply sit down for a one-on-one meeting. Basically, what you want to find out is why they are serving on the board. Here are some examples of questions or comments that might be appropriate in such a conversation:
1. What led you to accept (or volunteer) for a position on this board?
2. What would you like to see the organization accomplish this year?
3. You’ve been on this board for a while, what was the best moment or high point of this organization?
4. How can I help you in the coming year?
5. Is there anything that I should be aware of that is not obvious?