I am publishing a series on the desirable characteristics of board members. This is the first one and I am going to start with two characteristics – playing well with others and being open-minded. These are similar characteristics.
Do you remember your school report cards? Did any of your teachers point out that you do not play well with others? If so, you are not a good choice for serving as a board member for an organization, unless of course you have outgrown this tendency. To serve on a board you have to be willing to get along with people. You are going to get things done through agreement and consensus, which requires you to play well with others. If you would rather just have people do what you want, then you need to be in charge, not on a board.
Secondly you have to be open-minded. This means that you are willing to actually listen to other people’s point of view and even occasionally change your mind. You should not be coming to meetings with your mind made up about what is on the agenda. The idea of a meeting is to have everyone presents their views and have a discussion. That’s why it is a board and not just one person.