When building or assessing your board, it helps to understand what to look for in board members. Board members with the following traits help keep meetings on task and more engaging.
- They possess the right context
Forbes states that there are four key areas of knowledge: industry, business model, stage of growth and a specific field of function (sales, marketing, etc.). Board members who have knowledge in each of these areas can offer better insight.
- They understand how to communicate
This one may seem obvious but having the ability to communicate with others is an essential trait in a board member. This is not just having the courage to speak up when needed, but also the ability to thoughtfully listen to others and respectfully respond.
- They have a positive outlook
Jay Love, the co-founder of Bloomerang, a non-profit software company, stated that the heart of the board often is not the most knowledgeable. He believes having a positive spirit is contagious and will help move your organization forward.
- They have a deep passion for the organization
According to Love, passion is more important than knowledge. A board member who is constantly rooting for the organization and pondering how it can be better is far more valuable than the person who knows everything about the organization but can’t commit wholeheartedly. There is no use in recruiting a great player if they do not want to be on your team.
- They want to learn more
A great board member is aware that they do not know everything. For them, working with others is an opportunity to grow and they are eager to take advantage of trainings and professional development opportunities.