Five Simple Ways To Ensure a Winning Relationship with Your Board

by Stevie Kernick, Owner Emeritus and Current Account Manager

As an Executive Director, you’re constantly working with new board members. Though it’s important to learn the particulars of how each individual prefers to communicate, there are five simple ways you can ensure a winning relationship with all board members.

Be Honest

It’s not easy to share bad news, but being upfront and candid with your board builds trust. Your board should never wonder if they are getting all the facts.


Keep your board informed on all association and staff activities. You don’t want them to hear about changes in staffing, committee activities or processes, whether these are positive or negative, by some other means. More communication is always better than less.

Be Responsive

No one is comfortable with a black hole of silence. It leads to speculation, sometimes erroneous. However, without information, it’s easy for board members to start constructing their own narratives. If a member of the board reaches out to you, then respond promptly even if it’s to say, “I’ll research this and get back with you tomorrow.”

Pick up the Phone

Not everyone communicates best via email where threads can become lengthy and confusing with hours or days passing between responses. Sometimes the best response is delivered by a personal phone call where give and take is more immediate and effective.

Be Supportive

The association belongs to the entire membership and not to the staff. The staff’s role is to support the leadership and be responsive to the membership. It’s all too easy to slip into a sense of ownership when you work for an association all day, every day, but remember your role is to make leadership shine and provide value to the members. 

Are you a board member looking for a responsive and supportive Executive Director? Contact IMI Association Executives today! You can choose from a wide array of valuable services. Each contract is customized to meet the needs of the board and the members. Contact us today!

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