How to motivate your board members to commit themselves to work for the organization

board services governance

There’s simply a lack of commitment; All the work is basically up to me; The others are shirking their responsibilities; All tasks are finally delegated back to me; that’s how the complaints of some board of directors sound. So that this does not happen to you, read in this article how you can turn your colleagues into enthusiastic comrades-in-arms and pass on their motivation to the other members of the organization.

In this article the work in the board of directors is to be taken once more under the magnifying glass. What could an efficient cooperation look like? In which way can you achieve that the individual board members work together with pleasure and commitment in the sense of the organization? How can you improve the atmosphere in the board, if this is necessary in your team?

What about your own motivation?


Because you are the top leader of your board, it is important that you have the right attitude. Because successful managers start with themselves. They are aware that their leadership behavior influences their colleagues. If you see the actions of your colleagues in the organization as useful feedback for your own behavior, you will get many suggestions. Therefore:

Look at yourself through the eyes of others.


Now lean back for five minutes. Put yourself in the shoes of your fellow board members and look at yourself from the outside: How do you feel as a superior? How motivating do you feel? Are there any behavioral patterns in you that are particularly motivational, or do you perhaps discover motivation blockers in yourself that could be inhibiting for your colleagues?

Perhaps you have now become a little doubtful and suspect one or the other weak point in your leadership behavior. You are also just a human being and have the opportunity at any time to become better and to change your attitude and thus your behavior.

If you have been chairman for some time: Could it be that some of the dynamism of your early years has been lost? Do you feel discouraged by the sometimes endless discussions, the obstructionists and the lack of commitment of the other members?

Stop! Stop! You will always have the opportunity to regain the enthusiasm of your early years and to carry others along with you. It is only up to you. If you change your attitude and start anew today, all doors are open for your and the success of your organization.

Remember again and again: Your motivation is the basic requirement for the motivation of your colleagues on the board and thus also that of the other employees and volunteers in the organization. Anyone who thinks positively as a top executive automatically brings about a positive attitude among the others!

How to motivate yourself


So, first and foremost, start with yourself. What is your attitude towards your work as chairman of the organization?

Check your mind. Do you often find yourself painting a little black about certain projects or the future of your team? Think about it: Your negative thoughts become negative energy and are reflected in your charisma and your actions. Your thoughts even if you never pronounce them are transmitted to your environment.

Therefore it is extremely important that you are convinced of the goals and projects that you want to realize for your organization. Do you still have doubts somewhere? Then deal with it. Find solutions, or consider course corrections, if necessary. Because only those who are at peace with themselves and convinced of their aspirations and actions can motivate others.

Follow these rules if you want to maintain your own motivation:

  1. Pay attention to a positive inner attitude. If you feel that you are slipping into the negative, and then concentrate on the positive aspects that almost every situation brings with it. It is up to you whether you allow positive or negative thoughts.
  2. Set yourself personal goals and pursue them consistently. Nothing is as motivating for everyone as achieved goals, which they can “tick off”.
  3. Reward yourself when you have reached a goal.
  4. Never forget the playful aspect. Try to include a playful, loose component in your role as chairman. This has a positive effect on your own motivation and is also contagious. Don’t let cramped “fundis” take away your sense of humor.
  5. Do not put off unpleasant or unpopular tasks, but do them first.
  6. Stay flexible. In the event of setbacks and unforeseeable difficulties, adapt your goals to the new circumstances. Otherwise you run the risk of demotivating yourself.
  7. Think again and again about your strengths and how you can further develop them.
  8. Start every day with a positive attitude to your tasks. This gives you energy.
  9. Be present. Dedicate yourself to what you are doing at the moment.
  10. Always do your full concentration. Success: This has a positive effect on the results of your work and is perceived as very pleasant by your interlocutors.
  11. Give your colleagues on the board some pleasure from time to time. You will be amazed at how quickly an elevated mood spreads within the team.
  12. Keep your body fit, as well as your mind. This is another way to recharge your batteries.

Find out the motivational factors of your colleagues

A possible co-cause for the lack of motivation of your colleagues could also be your inner attitude. However, you may have just discovered that the reasons cannot possibly lie in the lack of motivation on your part. You are burning with zest for action and are inspired by the idea of successfully leading your team into the future.

Then you should take a closer look at the personalities of your fellow board members. Sure, you may have known these people at your side for years or decades. But have you really ever thought about what moves them in their innermost being? Why did you join your team? What motivated them to take on a position on the board?

Maybe you already have a ready-made opinion about everyone.  Nevertheless: Take another close look. Perhaps you will discover a few basic personality factors behind the surface of your colleagues which can be experienced by everyone and which can be very important for your work as “chief motivator”.

Because it is crucial for your efforts to motivate your colleagues to bear fruit that you “grab” them at the right point.

Never ask yourself the question: “How do I get Hans to do what I think is right? Instead, ask yourself: “What is really important for Hans in our organization, what makes sense to him?

In other words, try to find out what reasons and feelings motivate your colleagues to take on a position on the board of your organization. If you discover these motivational factors, which are often well hidden from the outside, you have the key to successfully motivating your board team in your hands. An advantage for you as a manager of your organization is that you can disregard the motivational factor of money at least as far as direct payment is concerned. Most volunteers have completely different reasons for making their manpower available to the organization. So you hardly have to worry about like many managers in business whether the demotivated employee might feel underpaid or whether there are other reasons behind it.

Hidden motivation factors


In the following we list some possible motivational factors, therefore people free of charge their strength and energy an association in their spare time to make available. In most cases the person concerned is not only guided by one motivation factor, but by several at the same time.

This is how you proceed: Depending on which motivation factors you discover and suspect in your colleagues, apply the appropriate motivation strategy. Try not to evaluate the persons concerned, for example: “He is only interested in his business anyway”. or: “She just wants to make a name for herself”. Because if you have stored a negative evaluation in your interior, the other feels it, and your entire motivation attempts appear transparent and are completely in vain.

Determine objectively what motivates the other to cooperate. Try to understand these reasons. Accept the other as he is, even if his motivational factors are completely alien to you. Only when you have gained this attitude can you motivate the respective persons.

How you can positively influence your colleagues through your leadership behavior?


If you are well motivated yourself and have understood and taken into account the true motivational factors of your colleagues, then your board of directors is well on the way to becoming a real success team.

But you can do even more to optimize your leadership behavior as board chairman:

Delegate responsibility


Do you occasionally have the impression that nobody in your team is as good, as hard-working, as persistent or as creative as you are? Is it possible that you find it difficult to delegate responsibility to your colleagues in the team?

If that’s the case, then you’re not alone: Many managers even in business have the feeling that they can’t trust anyone but themselves. This is a fatal behavior that leads on the one hand to chronic overwork of the manager and on the other hand to demotivate of colleagues and employees.

So try to strengthen your confidence in the performance and willingness of your colleagues. You will see: Just a little more trust and responsibility will awaken unexpected talents and performance reserves.

However, fend off a return delegation consistently. Because then the work would be with you again. In this way you educate your colleagues and employees to work independently and flawlessly and to delegate themselves.

Develop concrete goals together


Everyone needs a clear goal in mind in order to be able to work motivated. Only those who have the summit of the mountain in their mind’s eye will find the strength and toughness to climb it. Those who have no goals cannot achieve them.

Together with your colleagues, define individual goals for everyone on the board, including yourself. Clarify the intended effect or the desired result, and emphasize the importance of the individual goal for the overall goal or vision of the organization.

Clearly define for each colleague the competencies and powers necessary to achieve the goal.

Allow for constructive criticism


No man is perfect, neither you nor your colleagues. Therefore, you should cultivate an atmosphere in your team that allows objective criticism of others. That means: Personal attacks are taboo, only factual suggestions for a certain process or occasion are allowed. It goes without saying that the criticism is then immediately followed by a feasible alternative suggestion.

Motivate through a targeted flow of information


Make sure there’s no “master knowledge” on your board team. That is, insist that everyone provides everyone with the important information. Those who keep knowledge to themselves try to gain a power advantage over the others. This behavior entails rivalries. A smooth flow of information strengthens the team spirit on the board, promotes loyalty and avoids conflicts due to misunderstandings.

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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