Who’s On Your Board Of Directors?
This past week I was gratified to be elected to the board of directors for the Institute for Transformational Leadership Network. That network is affiliated with the Georgetown University leadership training program, from which I graduated seven years ago. Currently, I also sit on the Board of Directors for my synagogue, in Potomac, Maryland.
If you know anything about nonprofit boards, you might think that I am a glutton for punishment. I can assure you that I am not. I was raised with the belief that throughout life, we must give back to the communities and organizations where we live and work. I have always enjoyed doing so.
My election this week, however, reminded me of a valuable leadership tool that I first learned about much earlier in my career: The personal board of directors.
All leaders, as they grow professionally, will benefit from building and sustaining a personal network upon whom they can rely throughout their leadership growth process. Unfortunately, when we are younger, we often are so focused on the next accomplishment, achievement, or project that we neglect to focus on building a personal board of directors.
Such a board can be tremendously valuable to us as we experience the hills and valleys of leadership growth. However, in order to construct this private group, we must consciously search for colleagues, mentors, and friends who we trust implicitly.
As we embark upon our professional journeys, we are never too young to start building this group. A personal board of directors can be tremendously valuable as we learn about leadership and endeavor to apply those lessons.
Members of this unofficial board can provide valuable advice about so many subjects:
-Communication with managers and leaders at work
-Answers to ethical quandaries we experience in the office
-Growth opportunities at our current place of employment
-Potential for moving to a new and different professional opportunity
-Challenging leadership hurdles that may stand in our way
-Political challenges that suddenly arise within our parent organization
-Conflicts with colleagues that may be hindering our progress up the leadership ladder
-Exploration of professional opportunities in a completely different field than the one we are now in
-The advantages and disadvantages of making a major geographical move in order to advance our careers
-Examining significant self-doubt which will inevitably arise during our leadership journey
These are just several topics with which a personal board of directors can you help us along the way as we hopefully grow into outstanding leaders. Do you have your personal board of directors in place?
Up until now, perhaps you have not made the time to think about creating such a group. If not, I encourage you to do so starting tomorrow. You will be glad that you did!