A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

Board Chair and Executive Director Partnership Assessment

Important Resource

from Vantage Point

Assessment Questionnaire


The board chair and the executive director must be each other’s biggest fans and greatest critics. The health of this partnership is essential to a well-functioning organization.

This resource is designed to assess the current status of your Board Chair-Executive Director relationship.  It is based on the findings of Mary Hiland in her article The Board Chair-Executive Director Relationship: Dynamics that Create Value for Nonprofit Organizations (2008). The included questionnaire is to be completed after reading the article. Its purpose is complementary to her research findings and will allow you to not only assess the current status of your relationship, but also identify opportunities to develop it further.

Assessment Questionnaire

Suggested procedure: Answer the questionnaire privately and candidly, with the idea that you might never share the answers.  It’s important to self-reflect on your TRUE answers here so you can decide whether you wish to improve the relationship and what steps you are prepared to take for that purpose.

If you decide that sharing your answers to the questionnaire with your pair is a step to developing your partnership, then you may wish to compare and discuss your individual answers.

The questionnaire is divided into three parts:
  • Interpersonal Dynamics: What do you do?
    • Fact-sharing
    • Ideas-sharing
    • Knowledge-sharing
    • Feeling-sharing
    • Give and take
  • Strength of Trust: From cautious to shared identity
    • Calculus-based trust
    • Knowledge-based trust
    • Identification-based trust
  • Focus of Work: The things you work on together
    • Managing
    • Planning
    • Leading



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