There are few places riper for productive discussions, contentious debate, smart decisions as well as disastrous ones than around the boardroom table. In my experiences both as a participant and an observer in various boardroom discussions over the years, I’ve identified the five most common characteristics of successful meetings around the boardroom table.
- Trust: This first one is a nonnegotiable. When trust is lacking, leaders are more concerned with jockeying, positioning, and CYA-ing than they are moving the ball forwards and making decisions based on what’s best for the organization. Trust creates a safe environment for participants to be able to bring the remaining four characteristics to the table.
- Debate: When trust exists, leaders feel safe to debate. We debate in an effort to get to the best idea together because we’re all committed and working side-by-side to accomplish the same goal. We aren’t threatened by debate because we possess these next two characteristics.
- Courage and Confidence: When we are courageous and confident, we welcome debate, feedback, and others’ opinions. We know the value we bring to the table, and we aren’t afraid to share our ideas. At the same time, we aren’t threatened by the ideas and value our peers bring to the table.
- Positive Thinking: Always taking a sarcastic and negative approach to others’ ideas and the future in general doesn’t make you appear smart; it makes you appear sarcastic and negative. Organizations need their leaders to bring an element of positivity when it comes to working toward the organization’s vision. This doesn’t mean we stick our heads in the sand in tough times, but it does mean that we leverage our positivity as we lead through tough times.
- Commitment: When times get tough, are you going to bail? Leaders around the table need to know that their peers are checked-in, 100 percent committed to the cause, in good times and bad. When your commitment wanes, trust erodes, leading us right back to nonnegotiable characteristic No. 1.
Do you emulate these five characteristics when you gather with your peers around the boardroom table? Strive to live these characteristics out and be the peer you want to work alongside in your organization.