The fact of the matter is that board membership isn’t a lifelong commitment. Sure, some directors spend decades on a particular board, but others might serve happily for a couple of years before stepping down to pursue other goals.
There’s no right or wrong amount of time for board service; it all comes down to the individual. There are, however, some ways to know when it might be your time to move on.
You simply don’t have the time or the energy
These days, board service comes with some serious obligations. Board members should be thoughtful when deciding whether or not they should sign on for another year of service.
Personal events can come up as well as other business accountabilities. It’s always better to admit that you can’t keep up with the responsibilities than to be a lackluster director.
You disagree with a major operational decision
First and foremost, disagreements happen on boards; it’s just the nature of the role. Before you decide to jump ship based on a disagreement, be sure that it’s the right choice for the organization. If your differing opinion could be of assistance moving forward, that might be reason enough to stay and keep playing devil’s advocate.
It’s a tough choice to make, but if you feel like your divergence from the group will hinder the organization’s growth or future, it’s acceptable to confront that reality and politely resign.