Who to Include on Your Personal Board of Directors

A board of directors is crucial to the success of corporations and nonprofits, as it provides accountability, insights and vision. By applying the attributes of a board of directors to your career, you can develop a support system that will guide you through every personal or professional challenge. In order to break down the process, think of your personal board of directors in terms of high school characters. Regardless of the memories you have of your high school experience, the following four personas from those four years will guide you as you consider who will be the best fit.

Keep your supporters balanced by considering friends along with colleagues. Here’s our guide to the types of individuals you should include on your personal board of directors:

Board member #1: The senior
Charting your career is easier when you have the support of someone who went through the same challenges you face. That’s why there’s no denying the power of a senior – someone who has achieved success in your career path and understands the vision you have for your career. Including someone with experience in your field on your personal board of directors will help you refine your long-term plans and realize what you need to focus on for success.

Board member #2: The teacher
A teacher will hold you accountable to creating goals and developing the necessary plans to tackle them. Like your favorite teacher from high school, this person excels at identifying blind spots and providing you with the constructive criticism you need to improve. Their guidance is meant to challenge you – whether you’re uncertain about learning a new skill or debating switching jobs, the teacher will push you to take risks and embrace change.

Board member #3: The cheerleader
Every good personal board of directors needs a cheerleader. As your number one fan, this person will inspire and support you when life gets stressful. They’ll remind you of your goals while celebrating your current accomplishments. Your commitment to your goals may wane at certain times in your career, but this motivator will be there to help you to refocus and reenergize.

Board member #4: The coach
Whether you’re a recent grad or a mid-level manager, finding the right coach for your career is one of the best investments you can make in your professional growth. The right coach will help you gain valuable management skills and offer you helpful insights you may not realize on your own. As the coach, this person will help you figure out your next steps whenever you experience career complacency. Ask a natural leader to take on this role. By witnessing their leadership abilities and asking them for feedback on your management style, you will become a more effective leader.

Have you considered building a personal board of directors? Share your story with us on Facebook or Twitter and we might feature you in a future article!

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Emily Knippa

Emily Knippa is a St. Louis-based marketer and writer who focuses on content marketing, career development, and personal finance. She enjoys meeting people pursuing inspiring career paths. She’d love to meet you at the next United Way event. Say hello to Emily on Twitter at @emilyknippa.