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What’s Your Board’s Oversight Style?

Governance expert describes the continuum of board oversight styles, from rubber-stamping to micromanaging.

November 19, 2012
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Your CEOs want to hear your questions.

They want you to challenge them. And they want you to reward them.

Yvonne Evers, president of YME Coaching & Consulting, framed that scenario for attendees at CUNA’s National Credit Union Roundtable for Board Leadership. After the financial crisis, Evers says she received a lot of calls reflecting shaken confidence among CEOs and their boards.

“But it’s partly your responsibility to ensure that you’re communicating with your CEO,” she says.

Unfortunately, a lot of communication is faulty. Evers describes a continuum of board oversight, ranging from rubber-stamping to micromanaging. Rubber-stamping is to approve without question whatever your CEO or board committees recommend.

“This generally happens at credit unions with long-term CEOs,” she points out. “You’ll have short, fast board meetings as well. Do CEOs like this? A good CEO won’t. This oversight style means the board has no responsibility.”

Avoid rubber-stamping by:

Micromanaging, according to Evers, is to manage with excessive control, especially controlling operational details. Behaviors to avoid include:

CU Directors NewsletterIn addition to smaller credit unions, boards with a new CEO or a CEO with performance issues might also lean toward micromanagement, Evers explains.

“It can happen as you set more expectations for your CEO,” she says.

You’ll avoid micromanagement if you:

A culture of trust and respect, along with clear and consistent communication, can take you a long way to being successful as a board, Evers maintains.

And a lack of trust and respect can derail everything you’re trying to accomplish together. To ensure your board attains proper CEO oversight, Evers suggests these tips:

 This article first appeared in Credit Union Directors Newsletter

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