Is your men’s shed governance right?

Modern technology has helped to improve governance in individual men’s sheds.


Men’s sheds should be there to benefit the members and the community.

Governance in all non-profit organisations continues to evolve as they struggle to deliver on the promises and perceptions of the community and the people involved. Those men’s sheds that are not performing well should understand what good governance is and apply it.

Good governance is an often overlooked issue. A men’s shed should strive to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct, with accuracy and transparency, maintaining full compliance with the laws, rules and regulations.

Good governance requires listening to all different interests and opinions of the men and their supporters to reach a majority consensus on what is in the best interest of the men, their health and well-being and the people who support them. The purpose of a men’s shed can often be an overlooked when the level of level of clutter and conflict mind traffic gets out of hand.


“Exchanging ideas and opportunities can be a source of growth and development. Men’s sheds that operate in isolation and believe in their own understanding are at risk”. Peter Sergeant


Governance is the responsibility of your Board of Directors and the Management Team and refers, in brief, to the following:

  1. The leadership and planning of the men’s shed.
  2. Quality decision-making.
  3. Ensuring values are congruent.
  4. Sound financial management.
  5. Following the Rules and Laws of the country.

Each Board member has a responsibility for being well informed about the member’s problems, frustrations wants and needs. And more importantly to ensure those things that are not working well are fixed, not swept under the carpet.

Good governance means that activities and processes are compatible with the members and will produce the desired results while making the best use of available resources and maintaining an inclusive environment. 

Management Issues

  • Learn about the problems involved, in order that there is not a recurrence.
  • Have all your records up to date and keep score.
  • Be honest in all your dealings.
  • Provide adequate resources.
  • Keep the men’s shed ‘Partner Ready’.
  • Ensure that the men’s shed is government compliant.
  • Operate within the law.
  • Ensure the necessary skills and knowledge is represented.
  • Take extra care with other people’s money.
  • Make sure that the men’s shed can pay its debts.

Board of Directors Issues

  • Who picks board and committee members?
  • How is leadership addressed?
  • Are necessary skills and knowledge represented?
  • How are decisions made and implemented?
  • How are members of the board rotated or replaced?
  • If you have personal interests that might conflict with your duty as a director, you must generally disclose these at a director’s meeting.

How the board’s time is allocated will have a profound impact on the performance of the men’s shed.

  • Planning, working on objectives, strategies and actions.
  • Managing financial affairs.
  • Overseeing and helping with performance.
  • Seeking adequate funding.
  • Risk management.
  • Compliance.
  • Meetings.
  • Succession Planning.
  • Continuous improvement.



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Personal Experience:

I have seen men’s sheds where cliques exist, or one man runs the men’s shed like a dictatorship. The members and other people involved wonder why the men’s shed is not working as they envisaged.

The men’s shed should be accountable to everyone who will be affected by its decisions or actions. Governance must, therefore, be enforced with transparency and according to the wishes of the members, its supporters and the community at large, if it is to prosper.

One of the bigger issues I see is the dissemination and adoption of big ideas are often lacking as people go about personal agenda. If the men involved in the men’s shed don’t know about your big ideas, products, or services, they cannot embrace them.

Failure to communicate internally and externally about your men’s shed and its activities effectively can kill enthusiasm and eventually cause members to leave. Modern technology has changed how information and resources are made available to men’s sheds.




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