Psychologists on Boards
Psychologists on Boards: promoting Greater Inclusion.
Published by Inclusive Boards www.inclusiveboards.co.uk, July 2019
It is crucial for Boards of Charities, Services, Organisations and Businesses to be diverse and inclusive.
There is a great momentum currently regarding racial and cultural diversity by ensuring that as many groups as possible sit on Boards, and a strong campaign for greater gender representation not just to increase the proportion of woman sitting on traditionally male-dominated Boards, and of course it is vital to ensure the inclusion of all gender and LGBT individuals - in short, everybody in our society!
Psychologists are very diverse professional group, in terms of the individual psychologists across specialisms such as clinical educational and organisational psychology, and collectively, psychologists bring professional expertise, practice and humanity.
Fundamental to all psychologists, crucially, is the focus on human behaviour and functioning, both as individuals, in families, in groups, people who are living and working in often highly complex systems, within and across different organisations and services and, of course, across racial, cultural, socio-economic groups in our multi-national society. Our insights into people issues is invaluable!
Boards are made up of people, and the purpose of Board members, whether remunerated or voluntary, is to create a healthy tension between the Non-Executive Board and the Executive Management Board who are responsible for the management and output of that particular body, and to hold those post-holders accountable for the effective running of the body and for properly meeting its stated aims and its legal, accounting, ethical and social responsibilities.
Inevitably, these processes will be challenging and often may cause conflict between Board members and between the different Boards.
Personalities, opinions, relationships, management styles, finance, external pressures and many other factors may also cause organisational dissonance and sometimes frank open conflict which needs to be resolved so that the organisation can move forward well.
Differing agendas, social pressures, political motivations, profit and not-for profit, visibility, status, competing demands, religious attitudes, sexual politics, all have a powerful impact on human behaviour and there are high-profile examples going badly wrong!
This is precisely why psychologists can be so incredibly useful to Boards, whether sitting as Board members themselves, acting as external Consultants or co-opted as Advisors to the Board.
Psychologists have powerful insights into human behaviour and to the many difficulties which individuals may experience in their lives, in their personal lives and at work, resulting in emotional and psychological problems and mental health issues.
Psychologists will have extraordinary and unique expertise from countless hours being with people in difficulty and often distress and working with them in a very open and powerful way in order to support and help individuals in need to find better ways to manage the problems they encounter in their lives.
Embedded in such psychological practice is reflective practice where the psychologist is used to working with a senior or peer supervisor regularly in order to account for their work and practice.
This reflective practice process is exactly the same as the relationship between a management or Executive Board and the Non-Executive or Trustees Board and is designed in both examples to develop and ensure the highest possible organisational standards and performance in its dedicated arena, in accordance with its roles and responsibilities such as to its shareholders or service users.
This is also essential in the reduction and hopefully the elimination poor or incompetent management standards and organisational health and to reduce to an absolute the possibility of fraudulent, abusive and other forms of unacceptable and criminal behaviours.
Psychologists’ stock in trade skills set includes psychological expertise and principles gained from their professional training, research knowledge and applied psychological practice within public and private sector organisations and in private practice.
Psychologists have a proven ability to assess complex and challenging situations and to understand the bigger picture for causal and maintaining issues, and our professional USP is identifying conscious and unconscious processes underlying bias, attitudes and barriers to diversity and inclusion, and to help to resolve such important issues and facilitate positive developments.
This is why every Board needs Psychologists!
Association of Psychologists on Boards, 2019.