Hi, Ken. I have a question for you and your readers. I am wondering about the duty line between Boards and an Executive Director of a non-profit. What is the role of the Board in supervising that E.D.? If there are problems on a regular basis with how the E.D. executes his/her goals and objectives (i.e. things that fall under the auspices of the E.D. and not the board) does the board deal with this as a normal supervisor would (asking for explanations, suggesting or requiring specific solutions?) or does the Board have to stay quiet? - Jenny - Albuquerque, NMJenny brings up a common problem; boards that don't properly carry out their duty as the Executive's supervisor.
While it is true that nonprofit boards should have no role in supervising other employees (all staff should report to the Executive Director or subordinate), the ED reports to the board, and it is the board's responsibility to ensure that the ED performs to their contract. That includes the things Jenny mentions (asking for explanations, suggesting or requiring specific solutions) all the way up to the removal of the ED, if necessary.
Equally important, and even more frequently forgotten, is the board's role in supervising a successful Executive Director. When EDs perform well, boards often feel they have met their obligations to the ED. The result is that years go by without a formal annual performance evaluation, and often without a raise, even to keep up with the cost of living.
So, yes, Jenny, the Board (or the executive committee of the board) does need to execute proper supervision and evaluation of the Executive Director - in both bad situations and good ones.
Do any other readers have anything else to add? Please post your comments below!