Q. How do you keep the Board from micro-managing the Committees’ work?

Micro managing board imageA. A micro-managing board, whether focused on committee or staff work, is an all-too-frequent occurrence in the nonprofit sector, albeit, not in many well-functioning organizations. For committee members (or staff) to feel empowered, and to want to do a good job, they need the authority and responsibility to succeed or fail on their own. Theoretically, committee members were carefully chosen because of their particular talents – it is important to allow them to use their skills.

But, perhaps this is not an answer as much as a sign of empathy. The answer is for the committee chair to request some time at the next board meeting and ask the board for goals, timelines and any recommendations for implementation. Explain that as the committee chair, it is important to empower the committee and allow them to demonstrate their strengths. These committee members are potential future board members and this is one of the ways to determine in which areas the individuals could be assets for the organization as well as test their level of commitment and ability to follow through.

If the board insists acting as a committee of the whole and “re-litigating” each committee decision, then, include a board member on the committee, allow them to be part of the process and thus allow the board to be represented. In all probability, there are only a few board members that feel the need to be a part of every decision in a particular committee. By including one board member on the committee, you are giving the Board comfort that the committee will not run amok. The challenge will be to enable the committee and its members to “show its stuff.”