Dealing With Difficult Board Directors

Board members who are struggling can be a major challenge to the effectiveness and cohesion of the board. While it’s tempting to let the problem slide in the hope that the person will change their ways or leave when their term ends, that’s generally not an effective strategy. It is more likely that the problem will persist and become more severe, negatively affecting the rest of the board which makes it difficult for them to fulfil their responsibilities effectively.

One method to deal with difficult board directors is to directly intervention. Invite the person to a meeting with the chair or someone they respect and who will listen to them, to discuss the issues with their behavior. Find out the root of the reason behind their behavior, like an impression that they are not appreciated or heard by other board members. It is also crucial to have a clear goal in mind, for instance their behaviour needing to change so that the conversation does not develop into a debate or a confrontation.

If the individual isn’t addressed in an individual discussion it can be helpful to bring the issue to the attention of other board members during a group intervention. This is a great way for the chair to show that they value any input and are not afraid to confront difficult behaviour. It is also crucial to keep track of the comments made so that you can update people on any new information when you return to them.

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