Throughout much of my life I have been or have worked for bosses. In the military the boss had the truly ultimate vote in any decisions. I understood that fact as I rose through the ranks and became a boss.
Later in corporate life, even with company initiatives to help grow supervisors and managers so that they might treat their employees with respect and understanding, it was still levied on those managers to be the deciding arbiter. And, here, I once again saw the process from both sides.
However, over the last couple of years as my professional life faded into the past, I have been honored to serve on a couple of distinct and different non-profit boards. And this experience has been an enlightening one.
A non profit board has no definitive decision maker. Decisions are reached after careful discussions, compromise and understanding. Each member is an unpaid volunteer and an equal in this process. I have learned that non-profit conclusions and directional changes are the result of gentle collaboration while keeping the best interests of the non profit first and foremost always in mind.
I suspect that as I continue to move along the non-profit board learning curve I have and will continue to test the patience of my fellow board members. I am often not the easiest guy to work and live with and in this new territory, I am sure I often present a challenge to the other board members.
However, I truly do appreciate their patience, understanding and willingness to continue to invite me to meetings as I work to become a better board member and human. This truly is a higher calling and I am most grateful for the opportunity to serve.