Building your leadership team

The effectiveness of a river and watershed organization is fundamentally linked to the leadership provided by its board members and staff.  Without a strong leadership team at the helm of your watershed protection efforts, no amount of funding, savvy programming or media presence will get you across the finish line to protect or save your river.

There are a variety of practices that contribute to a strong and effective leadership team. The following are some key ideas to put into practice:

  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities for both board and staff members. Providing individuals with a clear sense of expectations helps them assess whether your organization is the right place for them and channel their motivation.
  • Plan for board succession. Developing a pipeline of leaders who are ready to step into board service and positions of leadership in your organization is easier when there are systems in place that consistently identify, foster and support those leaders.
  • Conduct annual evaluations of staff, board members and the board as a whole annually. Making time to reflect on the health and function of board and staff will help you identify areas that need attention, development and reorganization.
  • Promote a productive and engaging culture on your team. A healthy culture is one that promotes trust, open and honest discussion, inclusiveness, accountability and where members feel appreciated and valued.
  • Provide ongoing staff and board development to build new skills and abilities on your team.

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