The Main Role of a Board Chairman

The term chairman comes from parliamentary law where the individual running parliamentary sessions would sit in a “chair” that could be seen, and his voice could be heard by all. This person was designated to preside over parliamentary meetings. Understanding this concept creates clarity in our minds about the chair role.

Boards elect chairs to preside over board meetings. Period. The chair person leads board meetings, assists the executive director (or CEO) in devising an agenda, and works as a liaison with the executive director as a tactical assistant in running the organization from a leadership and management perspective. Typically, chairs spend more time on a monthly basis assisting the executive director than other board members.

Time Expectations

The typical expectation of a general board member is to give between three and five hours a month in time and managerial oversight to his or her roles on the board. The chair is definitely more involved. For these reasons, plus the need to separate board control from organizational control, it is a Ministry Ventures’ standard to separate the executive director role from the chairman of the board role. These two roles should never be combined.

Therefore, when choosing officers and a board chair, it is imperative to know the basic distinctions of the board of directors roles and communicate the differences so that the group (the board) can become a true team in fulfilling the organization’s mission and vision.

Setting Clear Expectations

You can survive being wrong. You cannot survive being unclear.” – Andy Stanley

Clear Board Role Descriptions should be the first step in developing an engaged board for your ministry. Ministry Ventures has developed a diverse library of board role descriptions in our online coaching program to make sure the expectations are crystal clear from the start. We’d like to give you a free sample board chairman role description. Click here or use the button below to get your copy of this helpful resource.