It’s at the top of the org chart at every corporation anywhere in the world – the chairman of the board.  Too bad that almost no board chairs come to the role with training, experience (or particular talent) for the task.

An article in the February issue of online monthly Boardroom INSIDER could help turn that around.  In “4 Fresh Ideas for Effective Chairmanship,” BI publisher and board speaker Ralph Ward rounds up “the best and newest ideas for chairing a board of directors,” including:

— Keep the line between the roles of management and the board bright and clear, a task “especially difficult for board leaders who combine the role with that of CEO.”  The moment someone (even a chief executive) sits in the board chair’s seat, Ward notes the perspective must shift “from the last quarter’s results to two and five years down the road.”

—  Board chairs, whether the company CEO, an outside independent, or a retired top exec, all have a problem with devoting too little time and accessibility to the role.  “People chairing a board typically have ‘day jobs’ outside the company, or are retired,” Ward notes.  This keeps them too often distracted from their unique board duties, as well as lax on returning calls or emails.  “Don’t be that distracted chair.”

— Effective board chairs make an art of learning the unique personal and business styles of those sharing the board table with them.  They study “who is the quiet analyst on the board, or the one who like to talk out issues, and so on.”  Mapping this profile for board members helps the good chair “work with each individual’s language.”

Other articles in the February issue include:

pink Why we’re still waiting for U.S. corporations to split the CEO and board chair roles.
pink The global evolution of family business boards.
pink Here’s how to make virtual online board meetings work.
pink Q&A: How can I mentor our new board chair?

New from Ralph Ward, the book Board Seeker: Your Guidebook and Career Map into the Corporate Boardroom (Business Expert Press) gathers 20 years’ experience in board counseling and research to give “board wannabes” the steps and insights needed to craft a successful board search campaign.
— Here’s why you have more “board experience” than you think (and why your current resume hides it).
— How women can jump the career obstacles they face into the boardroom.
— Finding your board search mentors and networks.
— How board searches really work (and how to turn flaws in the process to your advantage).
— Gaining the attention of board contacts and search firms.
— Prepping for a board interview… and for your first board meeting.