1. Learn to delegate
When setting up a board, you have to gather a team who are capable of making decisions and running things without constant supervision.
While help and counsel should be available where necessary, you should also feel free to share responsibility and empower others to lead the way. After all, it’s their business too.
A huge part of this involves delegating. Learning to pass responsibility to others is an important step and you have to empower your team to do the best job.
When you’re delegating, communication is vital – in fact, it’s fair to say most problems in the workplace can be pinned to poor communication.
There has to be absolute integrity in the boardroom and people should always speak their minds. That way, there is a common understanding and directors can work towards the same goals – this also ensures issues are discussed quickly and efficiently so people can actually get on and do the work they want to do.
In practice, board meetings should take place regularly, about once a month, and it’s a good idea to circulate minutes and agendas to departments beforehand, followed by a round-up of actions afterwards. Being able to witness this level of communication executed effectively can be a real highlight.
Give your staff a voice! While the board comes to decisions through meetings, staff should be part of the process, which can be achieved by having regular company meetings and an ongoing dialogue.
One thing you have to remember is that no matter how sociable or great at communicating your team is, it can get lost in a fast-paced work environment and the constant pressure to deliver high-quality work. Encourage a collaborative approach by motivating teams to communicate and find solutions together rather than relying on managers to intervene, which will equally create a trusting work environment.
3. Embrace challenges
Communication is a great way of minimising problems, but there are always going to be hurdles along the way. At board level, these arise when people haven’t properly understood the responsibility of becoming a director. Suddenly you’re liable for anything that might go wrong and that’s a big deal.
There are also bound to be personality and style clashes. If you communicate and find ways to help others understand not just what but why you’re doing something, people will work harmoniously. Finance, for instance, is tremendously easy for some people to understand whereas others require information to be downsized or illustrated with graphs. An important mantra is that there are always different and often better ways to do something.
Three golden rules
Have a purpose, be honest and make sure there are clear actions and outcomes. If I could add a fourth, it would have to be to keep board meetings short!
Syd Nadim is the founder and executive chairman of digital creative agency, Clock, which has grown from a Prince’s Trust start-up into a key player in the digital sector, while acting as an incubator for other start-ups.
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