October 23, 2011

Leadership ~ Chairman "Your Chair Is Waiting for You"

Three blog articles ago we discussed volunteerism as the start towards HBA leadership. Two weeks we discussed what particular qualities are needed to be an effective leader. Last week we discussed leadership styles and which would be the best way to be effective.

The next, and natural, progression from the volunteer only level, with your identification of qualities and style, is to move into a chairman's role. Although the chairman step is not necessarily needed to become a board member or an officer, understanding the "volunteer manager" role will go along way in being a better, more developed leader.  
If you decide this is your next step the benefits will be enormous to you professionally and will showcase your leadership skills. It's not everybody who can take a group of volunteers and influence them to deliver your particular initiative into the realm of success for everyone involved. 
Your Chair Is Waiting for You

I hopefully will pique your interest now in stating that there are two major benefits to agreeing to become a chairman;

1. Helping the HBA with one aspect of being successful which in turn helps the industry. If it helps the industry you are helping yourself.
2. If you are successful in managing a group of volunteers, keeping them engaged and enthused, can you imagine how your skill level as a paid manager working with paid employees will grow? Absolute hands on training to become a manager or a better one. 

Leader, facilitator, team builder. That is the core of being a committee chairman. It is also the Chairman's role to demonstrate the "fruits of the initiative," lead by example and action as well clearing road blocks. 
  • Identify and understand priorities of the HBA - simply stated, you have to know the"whys" before you can take on the chairman's role.
  • Preparing budgets - in some cases, if it involves a fundraising event (when doesn't it??), you will have to either create a budget or adjust a current budget so you can determine if an event will be profitable. 
  • Setting effective agendas - nobody wants to attend a meeting that is meaningless. Setting an agenda that is informative and productive is key to keeping committee members engaged and returning.
  • Time management of meeting - each agenda item should be timed based on priority of each item. Set aside room for new discussions which are relevant to that particular committee and leave room to have a revisit to old discussions from that day or previous meetings. 
  • Beware of "time killers;" do not let members "beat a dead horse" or revisit an item that was already determined to go in a direction that all agreed upon previously. 
  • "Time saver:" consent agendas allows the board to approve all these items together without discussion or individual motions. Depending upon the organization, this can free up anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour for more substantial discussion.
  • Familiarization of Robert's Rules, follow if applicable - there may be times, more frequent than you know, when following parliamentary procedure is the most efficient way to run a meeting particularly with an all volunteer group.
  • Properly delegate - we spoke last week about being an autocratic leader. An effective chairman can not do "it" alone and will need to make sure others are a part of the initiative. Giving certain members particular tasks can also help identify future committee chairmen. You will need to understand a few things here; have your delegates give you a commitment. There is nothing wrong with asking the question "can you give your time and leadership to this imitative?" If the answer is "yes" they have chosen to move forward in the assigned role. If the answer is "no" then you move on to the next candidate. Some will choose to take the challenge others may not. 
  • "Be the fullback" - when you delegate you are given someone responsibility. You may have to occasionally clear the path of any obstacles for your volunteers so they can deliver their charge. 
  • Meeting deadlines - Every initiative (and\or parts of,) has a set time in the future. Others are relying on you, as chair, to meet that deadline. 
  • Engage entire committee - some committees will have members that are sitting on the sidelines. They are there in person, but not in spirit. An effective chairman will draw out participation from all members, either in the group or in private discussions. The chairman needs to be all inclusive
  • The "Buck Stops Here" - The successes of the committee are group successes. The lack of success falls directly on the chairman's shoulders. Spread the wealth and take responsibility when things don't go as planned. This will, believe it or not, help develop your leadership skills.
  • Working WITH staff - While this association is volunteer driven the importance in being in sync with HBA staff can not be understated. The flow of the work of the group is much much smoother. But remember, never expect staff to do your "agreed upon beforehand" work. You took on the charge and staff is there to assist, not lead. 
A good chairman inspires members to have confidence in the chairman. An effective chairman inspires members to have confidence in themselves.

Next week's article will explain the next level of leadership; the board of directors.

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader" ~ John Adams

Note: This series of upcoming blog posts are based on The NAHB Associates power point presentation titled "Unlocking the Mystery of Associate Leadership. Thank you to the New Jersey Builders Association for donating the presentation to NAHB so that our associate members across the Federation could help those who want to contribute their skills and talents in helping the HBAs.  

1 comment:

Visionary Diva said...

Mike thanks for posting once again a great article that all members can benefit from!