Chief executives and board chairs should serve as each other’s chief champions — and critics. But giving and taking criticism is hard for many of us. Here are some tips to help you build this critical skill into your partnership from day one.

Successful organizations are characterized by strong chief executive–board chair partnerships — partnerships founded on respect and trust and focused on serving as each other’s sounding board, as each other’s champion… and, yes, critic. Building and maintaining such a partnership takes work and intentionality. There are differences in personality and working styles to overcome — and fairly quickly, due to the fact that board chairs rotate into and out of the position on a regular basis. It is further complicated by the fact that the chief executive reports to the board, which is managed by the board chair. All that said, strong, effective partnerships do exist, and building in mechanisms for giving and receiving.