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Dealing With Board Directors

The best way to deal difficult board directors is preventative – make sure that your agency’s objectives for board members are clear, and that they blend their own vision with the organisation. This will decrease the instances in which the advice of a member of the board is not beneficial. If a problem does arise address it immediately and don’t overlook unacceptable behavior. Refusing to act will only make it worse.

Direct intervention is the initial step to initiate a conversation one-on-one with the person in the middle of trouble. You should be professional and calm but also direct and state your concerns clearly. If you’re not successful, try a group intervention with someone the board member respects and/or the chair. It may be beneficial to go through your agency’s Values statement and/or other governing documents for words that could serve as a reference point for acceptable behavior, such as treating people with respect.

Another option is to try to convince the person remove themselves from the board (ideally by choice, but if needed, through an unconvinced vote). This will require careful planning and preparation prior to the meeting or discussion. For instance, make sure you are aware of the major issues that you want to discuss and have a detailed response prepared. Also ensure that your tone is professional but firm. Do not be afraid to assert yourself.

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