Three reasons to NOT join a board

These are why you should not join that board

One of the most important questions aspiring directors must ask themselves is ‘why do I want to join a board?’ Particularly when your first board position will likely be in a volunteer capacity.

Hopefully your answer consists of something along the lines of “To give back”, “To use my skills for a larger purpose”, “To make a positive contribution to an organisation”, or, “To gain experience that will further enhance my career over the long term”.

There are few other gates that you should check your board intentions through before going down the director path. If any of the following points resonate with you, perhaps it’s time to reconsider whether joining a board is the best move for you at the moment.

1. Your ego is in the driver’s seat

I once sat in board training session with someone whose reason for participating in the seminar was because they wanted to join a board just so they can tell people that they sit on a board.

Not the most noble of reasons.

If you feel the same way and are attracted to the ‘director’ title or feel that by having it may some how make you feel better about yourself, stop now and progress no further on your board journey.

Given that a director’s primary responsibility is to act in the best interests of the business as a whole, ego-driven directors are poison for boards and present a huge risk for the organisations that they are meant to serve.

2. You don’t have passion for the cause or purpose of the organisation

Being a volunteer director involves investing large amounts of time and energy to the purpose and objectives of the business. Time is covered in the next point, so what I want to touch on here is that having such a significant time and energy duty placed on you as a director, you want to be incredibly aligned both in purpose and values with what the organisation is trying to achieve.

If not, you’ll underperform and find it hard to be motivated to carry out your duties and responsibilities as a director.

3. You have no time

The time commitment required from directors varies across boards and director roles. One thing is for certain though. You will need to invest your time into your director role over-and-above attending the regular board meeting.

You need to make time to read board reports, participate on a board committee or two, stay abreast of the industry, keep yourself updated with changes and trends across the legislation and business landscapes, and maintain a working level of knowledge and skill in your area of expertise.

Make sure your schedule has the capacity for full commitment to a board before you join. As they say, it’s all or nothing!


These three checkpoints should be worked through for every board you consider joining. Ensure that your intentions are pure and that you can make the necessary commitments. If you feel any of the above points resonate with you, please reconsider joining a board.


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