In many organizations, the position of a committee chairperson is important. When properly used, the committee can lead to the success of an organization. Although the chairperson plays an influential role in terms of duties and responsibilities; the position is not considered a full-time job. In addition, it does not carry a salary. In most nonprofit organizations, the committee chairperson acts as a link between the CEO and the stakeholders.
The chairperson is a leader; and to that end, he should play the part. He should guide the organization toward its vision, so as to meet its goals and objectives. He should encourage everyone to support the organization’s vision and promote the success of the organization. In addition, he should ensure that there is no conflict of interest among committee members. And finally, he should personify the qualities of a maverick. According to John C. Maxwell, “A real leader faces the music, even when he dislikes the tune.”
Supporting the CEO
In some organizations, there is a separation of power and responsibilities between the CEO and committee chairpeople. For example, while the CEO is accountable to the board of directors, the committee chairperson is accountable to the shareholders and the community at large. Thus, in general, the committee chairperson plays an advisory role to the CEO and senior staff, while the CEO implements agreed programs. It is the duty of the chairperson to ensure that the organization’s strategic goals are properly executed.
Conducting Effective Meetings
Before the meeting, the chairperson should draw up an agenda and ensure that all the items to be discussed are included. The agenda should be sent out to the committee members so that they can have an opportunity to read the minutes of the previous meeting. During the meeting, the chairperson should ensure that everyone is seated before the meeting starts. She must also ensure that that the minutes are properly recorded, and that everyone participates in the proceedings. The chairperson should be fair and impartial in allocating ample time to all members. After the meeting, the chairperson should ensure that all decisions reached are summarized and that the minutes are properly written and checked before they are sent out in good time.
The Chairperson as a Figurehead
Generally speaking, the chairperson of an organization can be described as a figurehead and leader, responsible for representing the organization to the outside world. He can be a sounding board of ideas and a steward of the organization’s standing in the community.
Qualities Expected in a Committee Chairperson
The chairperson should exhibit leadership skills, knowledge, experience and good interpersonal skills. She should have the ability to think outside the box and be a team player. In addition, she should remember that she is one among the many committee members.
- The Leader in You: How to Win Friends, Influence People and Succeed in a Changing World. Dale Carnegie & Associates Inc.
- The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow. John C. Maxwell
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