A series of guides have been launched to help charity chairs tackle trustee conflict and manage board relationships more effectively.
The series of guides, Working with trustees, have been published by the Association of Chairs in response to feedback from chairs who claim getting the best out of a 'disparate group of individuals' and managing conflict, are among the biggest challenges they face.
The guides have been designed to equip chairs with the skills they need to enhance relationships among trustees, improving the overall effectiveness of their board and charity.
They aim to offer tools and techniques to diffuse difficult situations and turn a struggling board team into a performing one, the association said.
Key elements of the guides include:
• A new trustee life cycle, which goes from planning to recruit trustees, to supporting them once in place, and finally to moving them on
• Ideas to turn a group of individuals into an effective team. This includes a new board health check to help assess where your board sits on a four-point spectrum from struggling to performing; covering issues such as staff/trustee relationships, trust, roles and responsibilities, and impact on mission
• An approach to analysing difficult relationships using 'FBI' (factors influencing behaviour), behaviours themselves and the impact on others. Plus some tips on having ‘difficult’ conversations.
The series starts by focusing on how to work one-to-one, then with working as a team, with the final one focusing on working through difficult board relationships.
AOC chief executive, Ros Oakley said: “When trustees fail to work together well, governance and the charity suffer. But building really strong working relationships around the board table is challenging, and up to now there has been little help. These new guides fill that gap and are full of practical suggestions and ideas for Chairs. Building strong relationships among board members helps them be more resilient when the going gets tough and in good times helps unleash their potential for bold and creative leadership.”
The guides are available to download for free for Association of Chairs’ members and chairs in AoC’s Beacon Programme (for charities with income under £1 million).
Non-members can purchase print copies from the 'resources' section on the AoC website.