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Should a CEO praise the board?

January 19, 2017

Have you ever expressed appreciation publicly for your supervisor(s)? A good leader is able to share the credit with his team, those who work with him/her and report to them on the organizational chart. But do you as a leader ever express gratitude for those who are over you on the organizational chart?ceo-board

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No, I don’t mean “buttering up” a person or group because you want a pay raise or new contract? I don’t mean empty words of flattery. As a CEO should you ever praise your board for the work they do?

Consider when the pastor – who talks regularly about the importance of having a spirit of unity among the congregation – shares how much he appreciates the regular monthly meeting with the elders because they work hard, laugh together, and sense God leading them together in various decisions in unity. The board, officially the pastor’s “boss” have just been affirmed for their hours of volunteering in meetings before the congregation. Likewise, the congregation sees the leadership setting the example.

What about the college president who makes sure in each of the annual reports to the constituency to acknowledge and express his appreciation for the board members who volunteer to meet for 2-3 days twice a year?  There’s no big issue pressing in terms of a leadership change or concerns in the organization. And that’s why it’s the perfect time to honour the board members for their behind-the-scenes service to the various constituencies – students, staff, alumni, etc.

As a leader, you might be a gifted encourager of the team you lead, appropriately and generously celebrating their work and accomplishments. But as a CEO, you should also recognize and value those above you, without looking like you are “fishing” for something else.

I would suggest yes. Why?

  • Because when you appreciate anyone, it is good and right.
  • When you appreciate those who are over you on the organizational chart, you set a good example for your team.
  • When you appreciate your board, you acknowledge the organization is bigger than any one person.
  • When you appreciate your board, you show your humility and submission to others, even as the “top dog.”

So leaders, it is great to appreciate the people you work with each day. But don’t stop there! Honor the board members who serve you and your organization too!

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