Anyone who’s in the public eye knows the probability of being misjudged for a simple slip of the tongue or expressing an unpopular opinion. Having strength of character and being ethical are essentials when we throw our hat into the political arena or volunteer to serve the public.
In small towns especially, newcomers learn a hard lesson if they innocently comment about Mr. or Mrs. Anyone to a colleague or attendee at a public function. Familial relationships are complicated and close; gossip spreads like wildfire, so zipped lips will keep you out of hot water. At the boardroom table, where confidentiality is presumed, don’t count on it. There may be someone who wants to make themselves feel important – so inevitably a juicy fact or private detail is leaked.
At this particular time of year, the Classifieds section of local newspapers are peppered with calls for volunteers to join the Board of Directors for various groups who require governance as part of their Charter mandate. Stepping forward is not a trivial decision—there are legalities and liabilities to be clearly understood.
Being “sworn in” as a Director is not trivial. The work at hand will require commitment, homework is required to establish a clear understanding of the issues on the table at the meeting, and the courage to make your voice heard when the naiveté of others clouds clear thinking. At risk of appearing contrary either in discussion or when a vote is called by a show of hands, stand tall and take pride in not being a “yes” man.