How to Preside Without Being Overbearing
Make Others Successful
Create committees to help accomplish important work
Members are more likely to attend and participate if they have a purpose within the organization. Committees give members the opportunity to have an active role and provide much needed help. When committees regularly meet to discuss pending issues or projects, they can use their time brainstorming solutions and making plans that then can be brought to the body. Members of the committee become subject matter experts and can assist others members not in the committee in a variety of ways that will allow them to succeed. This helps organizations build a bench of future officers and even helps members exercise the skills that candidates for public office need.
Be a good mentor
Your experience as a leader should not be for your benefit alone. Taking an active approach to cultivating new members and grooming them for leadership roles will keep organizational knowledge from being lost when new leaders are elected or changes in leadership occur. Being a good mentor takes insight, patience, and above all, listening and tailoring your approach to the person being mentored. If you aren’t a good mentor, seek out one to help mentor you. By being on the otherside of the equation, you will learn quickly what works, what doesn’t, and how to be a better mentor yourself.
Provide leadership opportunities
Just because a member isn’t on the executive board doesn’t mean they cannot lead. Delegation is a critical skill for all chairs to learn. The chair cannot, nor can they expected to do it all. Providing opportunities for others to champion a cause, even if you feel you could do it better, will teach others how to be more productive members and allow them to benefit from personal victories they have led.
Acknowledge capable people
When a chair knows their body well, they can help members to benefit from other members. By acknowledging publicly those in your organization that have much to offer, you endorse their abilities and give members a person to turn to when they need assistance.
Foster an environment of productive teamwork
Productive teams are engaged teams. They communicate regularly and coordinate the work effort so that no one member is left “holding the bag”. You can foster this environment by setting a good example yourself. Delegating responsibilities can help others to learn to let go a little and delegate their own responsibilities, giving each team member a purpose in their group.
Reward good work
No one likes to put in a great deal of effort, only for it to go unacknowledged or unrewarded. Find interesting ways to reward productive members, whether it be chairing committees, free admission to events, small tokens of appreciation or other forms of reward. When members are rewarded for their accomplishments, they are more likely to reach out again and other members as well will be incentivized to take the lead in the future.