Those on the board of directors of a company or organization are assumed to be leaders in their field, have a sizable depth of experience in leadership and are ready to share those characteristics with peers and supporters. Directors should be ready to lead their association into the future using current success and creative thinking for the years to come.

But, is that leadership possible when perhaps the most important competency is missing? Emotional intelligence starts with self-awareness. Do you know someone who just cannot comprehend how they behave? How they appear to others? Social awareness comes next as leaders who can feel empathy will always be better communicators. This includes both empathy with and for another human being, but also empathy with an organization’s personality or “corporate culture.” Essentially, one must identify with a goal or cause to be effective in aiding its growth.

Self-management, while vital in a leader, has many levels. Leaders must have a positive outlook, be adaptable, and be achievers. This is the skill that includes emotional self-control, a subject for an entire set of volumes on behavior we won’t expand on here.

And, finally, the skills and behavior most visible when one is a board member is relationship management. As a coach or mentor, a leader doesn’t just influence but, inspires. This list of basic and necessary characteristics is not new. In 2008, “Becoming a Resonant Leader” was published by Harvard Business Press. You may want to pick it up.

When a board wishes to fill a director seat or expand the table of leaders, these are the traits that will ultimately bring your association the most value.

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