LEADer #17 - 2012 Fall

Power for the Co-op and Its Leaders

How do boards balance the power of their position and the need to be decisive and take action, with a deep commitment to co-op values? We offer thoughts and discussion questions on what power means, where power resides, and how your board embraces its power in a healthy, productive manner.

This Issue: Power for the Co-op and Its Leaders
Good leadership is one that fosters a climate of inclusion and respect. A good co-op leader knows how to develop systems and tools to help directors and others who interact with the board participate and feel heard, while also cultivating board effectiveness.

In this issue, we offer five short articles that look at how boards balance their power in ways that are effective and consistent with co-op values. As always, then we offer a series of questions for your board to use in discussing the issue of how the power dynamic works on your co-op’s board and how that might be improved.

Exercise Power with Grace – Philip Buri 
“. . . being in control can be exciting, fun, and even sexy. Serving on a co-op board puts you in a position of power. How do you reconcile that power with a deep commitment to cooperative values?” Here are some suggestions on how to accept and exercise the board’s power fairly, appropriately, and with grace.

Key Leadership Tools for the Board Chair – Martha Whitman
“However, any cooperative chair worth his or her salt is interested in building a healthy board, which is achieved when all directors believe that they too have power and influence.”

The Board Chair: Exercising Productive Power – Paige Lettington
“Having a strong and capable leader for the group – the board president or chair – increases the leadership ability of the group as a whole.”

Virtues of a Powerful Board – Lucinda Berdon
“When I think of what strong leadership looks like in my board of directors, I think about three things: how directors empower each other, how they empower me (the general manager), and how they empower the membership.” Here is a GM’s view on how a board’s actions empower (or don’t) management.

Power Failure at the Co-op? – Marcia Shaw
“Power can be thought of as the force that gets things done. Using power constructively is what we want the board to do.”

Study Guide – Claiming Your Power 
“Does the notion of power resonate with you or scare the bejesus out of you? How can co-ops build powerful and confident boards?” Here are six questions for your board to discuss to reflect on what power means, where power resides, and how your board can embrace its power in a healthy, productive manner.

We welcome your comments, suggestions, and stories. Did you learn something? Were the discussions that came out of this issue useful to your board? How did your board use this issue? Send your suggestions, comments, experiences, reactions, and/or new scenarios and resources that you develop, to[email protected].

Item Details

Resource Type: Document Page
Created date: September 1, 2012
Last Updated: September 28, 2015