Board Assessment: It Starts with the Chair

board development and revitalization intentional practices oversight and accountability: measurement roles and responsibilities Jul 04, 2022
Board Assessment starts with the Chair


A Tool for Improving Governance Practice


The Board needs a tool designed to be used for an annual Board evaluation. It also requires a mechanism for review of the performance of each Board member, whether by the Chair or by peers around the table. We have samples for you if helpful.


These help a Board to answer the question:
What are we as a Board now doing well and what can be done better?


For modeling, as well as for improvement, any assessment or review should include the performance of the Chair.


The questions are how is the assessment of the board Chair to be done, when and by whom…

(Please, share this article with your friends and colleagues. Thank you!)



First is the easiest part. Never conduct a review at the end of the term. The purpose is an improvement, not plaudits or grievances. Try mid-term, whether mid-year or in the middle of a two-year, or renewed, term.


Obviously, every board member should be involved. This is usually done through a brief instrument, collected, summarized, and delivered to the chair or better, discussed with the chair. Often this is handled by the chair of the Governance Committee and sometimes by a confidential secretary to the Board if the results are given to the Chair without discussion. The review could involve a confidential discussion with the Chief Executive Officer or Executive Director as well but this would need to be handled delicately if done at all.


This brief instrument specifically addresses the work and performance of the Board chair. These criteria were developed for all not-for-profit boards. You may choose to modify or adjust the statements depending on your own specific situation, job description (you should have one), or areas about which you need to provide some feedback.


Feedback to the Chair of the Board

  1. The Board has discussed the role and responsibilities of the Chair. 1  2  3  4  5
  2. The Chair is well prepared for Board meetings. 1  2  3  4  5
  3. The Chair helps the Board to stick to the agenda. 1  2  3  4  5
  4. The Chair ensures that every Board member has an opportunity to be heard. 1  2  3  4 
  5.  The Chair is skilled at managing different points of view. 1  2  3  4  5
  6. The Chair can be appropriately tough on us as a group when we get out-of-line. 1  2  3  4  5
  7. The Chair knows how to be direct with an individual Board member when behaviour needs to change. 1  2  3  4  5
  8. The Chair helps the Board work well together. 1  2  3  4  5
  9. The Chair demonstrates good listening skills. 1  2  3  4  5
  10. The Board supports the Chair. 1  2  3  4  5
  11. The Chair is effective in delegating responsibility among Board members. 1  2  3  4  5
  12. The Chair is the public face of the organization in the community. 1  2  3  4  5


  1. Strongly Disagree.
  2. Disagree.
  3. Neutral. Not Sure.
  4. Agree.
  5. Strongly Agree.

Some eliminate 3. To avoid waffling…
Some provide room for comment as well.

Click here to get a printable version of the assessment form delivered to your inbox. 


Remember, the chair is your public face, the facilitator of your decision-making through meetings, and the interface between the Board and the CEO. Your purpose is solely to become as good as you can possibly be.



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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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