Dealing With Board Directors

The best way to deal with directors who are difficult to work with is to prevent them from happening. Ensure that the goals of your agency’s board members are clear and that they can combine their personal vision with the organization. This will limit the instances in which the advice of a board member can be counterproductive. However, if a problem occurs be proactive and don’t overlook poor behavior. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.

It begins by establishing a direct, one-on-one conversation with the person who is causing trouble. You should be calm and professional but also direct and express your concerns clearly. The ideal scenario is that the person will agree with you and alter their behavior, but in the event that it doesn’t work, you can try stepping up to group intervention with the chair and/or anyone else who the board member holds in high esteem. You might also review your agency’s Values Statement and/or other documents governing the organization for words that could be used to define acceptable behavior – such as treating people with respect and respect.

Another option is to try to convince the person to quit the board (ideally on their own, but, if needed, through the vote of no confidence). This requires meticulous planning and preparation in advance of the meeting or discussion. Prepare a thorough response to the main issues you wish to discuss. Be assertive, yet maintain an appropriate tone of voice.

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