Okay, so there really are a lot more types of chamber board presidents than what I’ve named below, but these are probably some of the most annoying. Understanding yours is the key to a successful working relationship. Here are ways to work with a few of the most challenging.
3 Types of Chamber Board Presidents
Which one do you have? If you have a current chamber board president with a couple of years on their term, knowing which type they are will help you work with them. If you’re in an election year, recognizing the different types might help you specify more closely what will work well with your existing board.
This person desperately wants to be the ED or CEO of the chamber. You can tell because every time you turn around they’re looking over your shoulder or questioning your calls. This is probably one of the most difficult types of chamber board presidents to work with.
The solution: the easiest way to work with a micromanager is to establish trust by setting expectations, communicating openly, being transparent, and burying them in so many details they no longer want to talk to you. Okay, so you probably don’t want to do that last one but understand that this person has a sizeable concern that no one can do it as well as they can. There are no quick solutions to dealing with this person. It’s one you have to build trust with. For some people, this will never happen. But know, in these cases, it’s not you.
On the other end of the spectrum is the board president who seems to want the title only. They make excuses for not being able to attend meetings and come dangerously close to being removed from the position due to their absenteeism. They’re generally affable people and that’s why they get away with it for so long.
The solution: give them a reason to attend board meetings. Stick to the agenda at hand. Don’t let things get carried away and time wasted. No one wants to be a part of that. Also, make sure you are clear to them about what the expectations of the role are. If they’re not meeting them, ensure they understand the ramifications of that (in)action. This isn’t time for an emotional showdown or a reason to feel bad. They’re an adult. They are choosing to join you or not.
This chamber board president is the master of one trade and wants everyone to know it. Sometimes that can be a real blessing because you need the insight and advice from a seasoned professional. But more often you just want to scream things that you don’t allow your children to say. This type of leader will undoubtedly remind you of the joke in the movie American Pie, “…one time at band camp…”
The solution: let this dog have its day. It may be annoying, but as long as it’s not causing people to leave your staff or board because they are belligerent in always being right on the subject, let it go. Someday you might need that particular area of expertise. In the meantime, think of that line from American Pie.
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