Personal qualities of a board chair

Here are some qualities that exemplify a good board chair:

  • Comfortable with being in charge. Leadership is an acquired art, not something that comes naturally to all people. A good chair needs to be comfortable with the extra responsibilities that the position brings, including public speaking, talking to the media, running meetings and encouraging other board members to work as a team.
  • Listener. The chair needs to pay strict attention to everything that is said and respond accordingly. The chair must listen carefully to understand the consensus of the board.
  • Has sense of humor. Although the board is doing serious work, it shouldn’t take itself too seriously. Often a sense of humor can diffuse conflict and keep people working together.
  • Public speaker. The board chair and the superintendent are the spokespersons for the school district, which sometimes requires setting personal opinions aside.
  • Relationship-builder. The board chair must maintain a good working relationship with the superintendent, other board members, staff, community members, media representatives and other elected officials.

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