The president or chairperson is the principal leader of the organisation and has overall responsibility for the organisation’s administration.
The president should set the overall annual committee agenda (consistent with the views of members), help the committee prioritise its goals and then try to keep the committee on track by working within that overall framework.
The committee members should have a sense of what they are trying to achieve throughout the year rather than just ‘muddling through’ from one committee meeting to the next. This could be achieved by holding a brief planning session at the first meeting of a new committee.
At the operational level, a major function of the president is to facilitate effective management of committee meetings.
The president/chairperson should:
- be well informed of all organisation activities;
- be aware of the future directions and plans of members;
- have a good working knowledge of the constitution, rules and the duties of all office bearers and subcommittees;
- manage committee and/or executive meetings;
- manage the annual general meeting;
- represent the organisation at local, regional, state and national levels;
- be a supportive leader for all organisations members;
- act as a facilitator for organisation activities; and
- ensure the planning and budgeting for the future is carried out in accordance with the wishes of the members.
How decisions are made
The president has the responsibility to determine what particular decision-making process should be used. Because of the nature of the position, there is often the need for the chairperson to make informed decisions. The most difficult part of making a decision is the possibility of making the wrong one. To avoid making a wrong decision or not making one at all, as the president you must adhere to the following:
- Decide on small matters promptly.
- Make decisions with firmness.
- Explore all alternatives and encourage input from all committee members.
- Act upon the chosen decision.
To be an effective president, always remember to be fair and decisive. All the skills necessary to be a good president, to enable fair decision-making and to exercise sound management come with practice and regular self-appraisal.
Assess yourself regularly
Are you able to do the following?
- Lead without controlling.
- Involve club or group members in decisions that affect them.
- Stimulate balanced discussion.
- Time meetings to finish on time.
- Encourage focused discussion and keep meetings on track.
- Negotiate successfully between members.
- And LISTEN!