Board Leader Resources

Leadership Development

Pursuing Board Chair Excellence: Four Examples of Board Chair Selection Show What Can Go Right … or Wrong

Great governance rarely happens without a great board chair. Yet too often, insufficient attention is paid to ensuring that chairs are well suited for this critical role. Lessons about this important issue can be learned from the stories of four board chairs — two that did not handle board leadership preparation well, and two that are heading in the right direction.

The Role of the Board Chair

This webinar outlines key questions for boards to ask and approaches to take to clarify an explicit role and job description for the board chair.

Board Chair Coaching Process: Trustee Toolbox/Discussion Questions and Template

Some boards have realized that board chairs can no longer afford to grow into their role because of the continually shifting health care environment. Therefore, progressive boards make coaching available to all incoming board chairs to build the board’s capacity to lead effectively in a topsy-turvy world.

Position Description for a Chair-elect

From time to time as provided in the bylaws, the board may designate the vice chairperson as a chair-elect. In such cases, the chair-elect’s responsibilities go beyond the usual role of a vice chair to lead the board in the chairperson’s absence.

Sample Board Chair Position Charter

This chair position charter is grounded on a model of health care organization governance forwarded in Board Work by Dennis Pointer and James E. Orlikoff (Jossey-Bass, 1999).

Participation Is Not Optional

A board that engages 100% of its membership results in effective governance.

Elevate Your Facilitation Skills

Chairing a committee or boardroom can put you in a tough position. Effective facilitation requires self-awareness and creating a collaborative environment.

Get Active in Preventing Board Chair Burnout

Start with a well-defined role, delegation and limits on expectations. First reported among frontline caregivers in the emergency department and ICU, pandemic-related burnout has spread to impact nearly everyone in the hospital and health system.

New Approaches to Board Chair Effectiveness

Over the past decade, we have learned much about board effectiveness. A growing body of research has confirmed the intuitive link between board and organizational performance: higher-performing boards are associated with higher-performing organizations. Thus, anything that improves the quality of governance will improve the performance and success of the organization — across all dimensions.

Deliberate Decision-making and the Effective Board

In today’s environment of heightened accountability and risk, strong and effective health care board decision-making “muscles” are needed now more than ever. Today’s boards must go beyond checking all the good-governance boxes and learn both how and when to make clear, ethical and appropriate decisions.

Coaching: A Critical Tool for Board Chair Development

A customized approach makes new leaders better at facilitating boardroom conversations.

Demystifying and Optimizing the Executive Session

Transforming governance, demystifying and optimizing the executive session can enhance and strengthen board culture.

Board Chair Relationship with the CEO

Is Your Board of Trustees Micromanaging Your CEO? Ten Tips for Setting Governance Boundaries

A successful board must fulfill its duties of care, obedience and loyalty by analyzing all sides of an issue, fully debating it and ultimately, reaching a conclusion. To get there, one board may only ask a few — or even zero — questions about a major proposal by management and then vote it through.

Effective CEO Performance Evaluation

Following key strategies for effective CEO performance appraisals are essential to the health care board’s role. The better the professional relationship between the health care board and the chief executive officer, the better the health care organization will perform.

Getting Ready to Govern

Do not overlook the importance of CEO-board etiquette — it is a pillar of good governance. The relationship between boards and chief executive officers can be fraught with challenges, and trustees often are unsure of how to handle certain delicate situations. However, using a framework of etiquette can provide guidance.

Current High-performance Governance Practices Tool

For boards to participate in shaping their new organization, they must perform at an extremely high level. Here are four practices that hospital and health system boards should be engaged in today to be successful in the future. 


Emerging Committee Effectiveness Practices

The best boards revisit their committee structures, responsibilities and information flow to ensure detailed oversight while devoting more time to strategic and policy issues.

Committees: The Key to Generative Governance

High-performing boards across the country have made great strides in enhancing their effectiveness and efficiency. As a result, many boards have instituted governance improvements.

Leveraging Committees

As health care field changes become more complex, savvy board and executive leaders are intentionally increasing the time that their boards spend in robust discussions of strategic challenges and opportunities.

Governance Versus Management

Governance, Leadership and Management Grid

While a clear, bright line between the roles of governance and management does not exist for every issue that boards and organizational leaders must address, defining the relative roles of boards, leaders and managers can enhance governance effectiveness and working relationships.

Preserving the Distinction between Management and Governance

One of the most difficult aspects of effective governance understands the distinction between the roles of management and the board, and how that demarcation varies among different organizations.

Other Resources

Boardroom 101: Key Strategies and Practical Tools for Orienting New Board Members

Board education is critical in welcoming new members and orienting them to the complexities of the health care system. This resource from AHA Trustee Services provides information and guidance, including sample agendas and questions for board members to consider as they learn about health care, their hospital and/or health system, and board responsibilities.

Competency-based Governance Tool Kit

The role of a health care organization trustee gets more complicated and more sophisticated every day. Pressures are increasing simultaneously around higher quality, lower cost, more transparency and accountability, and the use of evolving and expensive technology.