Posted in Board of Directors

BACon Blog - Association Board Member: You’re Not the BoardIf you are a member of an association board of directors, you have no authority as an individual board member. You only have authority based on the collective decisions made by the board of directors as a whole.

As an individual board member, you do not have the authority to direct association staff to take any action or work on any of your pet projects. The association staff are to be directed and managed by the CEO of the association based on the decisions of the association board of directors on the strategic direction of the association.

As an individual board member, you do not have the right to talk with members of the association about your disagreements with board decisions. When you act in this inappropriate manner you are undercutting the decisions of the board of directors and damaging the association and the profession or industry that you represent. You are also damaging your own reputation when people see you acting dishonestly and treating your board colleagues unfairly.

As an individual board member, you have the privilege of participating in the deliberations of the board of directors and to express your views on the various issues and challenge facing the association. But once the decision has been made, you are duty bound to support the decision and do all you can to ensure that the decision is properly implemented.

As an individual board member, you should not throw your weight around at association meetings and attempt to impress people with the position and title you hold. Act humbly and you are more likely to get the respect that you are attempting to achieve through preening.

Being a member of an association board is an honor and a privilege. But you are only a board member. You are not the board of directors.

John Barnes is President of Barnes Association Consultants. Barnes Association Consultants helps association Boards and CEOs address the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing today’s association leaders. Barnes Association Consultants helps association leaders make their associations better.

John can be reached at johnbarnes@barnes-consultants.com or 703.321.6866. For more information about Barnes Association Consultants, go to barnes-consultants.com.