What Does Being Chairman of the Board Involve? A Closer Look

Do you know who is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive in your firm? Even though you may know them by name, do you know in detail what their role involves? These two roles are sometimes confused; even by the people who occupy them.

In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the role of the Chairman of the Board. As we do, you’ll see the skill set that makes someone successful in this position. That’ll give you an opportunity to reflect on your skill set and where your career is heading on the corporate ladder.

Corporate Structure 101

The structure of different companies will vary based on their size and industry. Even so, there are some common characteristics across all companies that you should be familiar with. The corporate structure is all about leadership and accountability within the company.

In large companies, there is an Executive Board occupied by Directors. Some of these directors are responsible for specific operations in the business. 

How the Executive Board Functions

The Executive Board is the highest level of leadership in the company. Its key function is to make strategic decisions for the benefit of the company. Sitting on the executive board are all the most senior managers in the company.

One of these roles is the Chief Executive Officer (sometimes referred to as the president). Other roles are the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and the Chief Operations Officer (COO). These Directors play a direct role in the day-to-day management and operation of the company.

However, on the board will be Non-Executive Directors that are voted in place by the shareholders. They bring corporate experience from other industries and backgrounds to the company. They also have greater objectivity than the internal executives. 

Chairman of the Board Role

In a nutshell, the Board Chairman is responsible for leading the board meetings. In some companies, the Chief Executive Officer is combined with this role. This has some advantages in that there is no power struggle, and there is unity in strategic direction.

It also has some disadvantages. For example, the Chief Executive Officer tends to be less accountable. There should be checks and balances for everyone in the business. 

So when the Board Chairman is not the Chief Executive, their role is one of facilitating communication and helping the board come to decisions that are reflective of the board’s composite intelligence. A good Board Chairman doesn’t take center stage but helps others shine, and harnesses the valuable thoughts of all on the board. Take a look at the Active RE Board Chairman and you’ll see this is a role that must draw on much experience and skills in communication and negotiation.

Develop Your Leadership Skills

In this article, you’ve read about what’s involved in being the Chairman of the Board. You might say, it is the most important corporate role on the board. The role requires experience, expertise, and outstanding skills in communication and in getting the best from others.

These are the types of key skills you can concentrate on developing at a lower corporate level. Being able to communicate and get the best from others is a major skill that will serve you your whole career.

A successful career in business also involves being well-read. Grow your knowledge base by checking out other business-related articles on our site.