Ensuring Effective Committee/Staff Relations

Good relations between the management committee and paid staff and/or volunteers are vital to ensuring the smooth and effective running of the organisation.  They help to ensure a shared vision, informed planning and effective delivery of the organisation's objectives.

Effective delegation

In practice, much of the day-to-day work of most organisations will be delegated to the staff, whether paid or voluntary.  For this reason and in order to develop good committee/staff relations, the management committee should ensure that the organisation has:

  1. Appropriate organisational structure and clear lines of responsibility;
  2. Good management structures; and
  3. Good management committee and senior staff relations.

1. Appropriate organisational structure and clear lines of responsibility

The Management Committee should ensure everyone is clear who is accountable to whom.  Even in small groups, this means having a clear map of accountability.  The Management Committee must be certain that people are working towards the objects (purpose) of the organisation and in the best interests of its beneficiaries.

2. Good management structures

The Management Committee should ensure that there are appropriate systems and structures in place to manage staff and volunteers.  The most common way to help manage staff and volunteers is to provide support and supervision through a dedicated contact person or line manager.  Supervision can take place in a variety of ways and should be appropriate to the organisation and the level of the role.  The Management Committee must create policies to guide staff activities and to safeguard the interests of the organisation.

3. Good management committee & senior staff relations

The most senior staff member (i.e. the Executive Director, Manager or Chief Executive) is the key link between the staff team and the management committee.  The committee must be able to supervise and manage the senior staff member effectively.  This role is often specifically assigned to the Committee Chairperson.  The management committee is also responsible for developing and supporting the senior staff member and conducting his or her annual appraisal.  The Committee, and in particular the Chairperson, should strive to develop a good working relationship with the senior staff member, with mutual agreement on the division of roles and responsibilities.