We recognise the importance of professional development in the workplace to keep staff up to date with industry requirements, enthused about the work they do, and inspired to do new and exciting things.  But often we overlook the importance of doing this with members of our community based committees and boards.

If we are going to keep up to date with the sector in which we operate, keep ourselves excited and enthusiastic about the things we do in the community, and become inspired to take on new projects that can change our community for the better, it is just as important that we have opportunities for developing our committee and board members too.

To start developing your committee members, firstly analyse in what specific areas you need more knowledge or a better understanding.  Are there areas relating to the type of group you are operating and the work that you do, about which your committee members need to be better informed?  Or do they need a better understanding of what it means to be a committee member generally – their roles and responsibilities?  Ask people where they think they need to develop.  And use your knowledge of people’s strengths and weaknesses too – it’s not about being critical, but rather recognising that we can all benefit from learning, and getting people the help that they need to do a great job.

Once you have worked out what you need, the question is then where to go to get that information.  Local council is a great place to start.  Councils may offer training opportunities or be able to refer you on to other opportunities from their extensive networks.  If your industry has a peak body that is another great resource to tap into for training and development.  And networking with other similar groups often brings up opportunities to learn from each other – find someone with the expertise you are wanting to develop and simply ask them about it.

With better developed committees, organisations are far more likely to operate effectively, and deliver on their aims and objectives – so think about and follow up on the development needs of your committee today!

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