Dealing With Difficult Board Directors

The presence of difficult members on a board can pose a significant challenge to the effectiveness and cohesion of a board. It may be tempting to ignore the issue in hopes that the individual will change their ways or leave the board after their term ends however this is not the most effective approach. It is more likely that the conduct will continue to grow more severe, negatively affecting other employees and making it difficult for them to fulfill their responsibilities news efficiently.

Direct intervention is a method to address difficult board members. Start by inviting the individual to a one-on-one discussion with the chair or someone that they hold in high regard and would be willing to listen to, in order to explain the issues with their behavior. Make an effort to gain a better understanding of the underlying cause behind their behavior, for example, the feeling that they are not respected or valued by the other board members. It is also essential to have a clear goal in mind, for instance their behaviour needing to change so that the conversation doesn’t turn into an argument or confrontation.

If the person is not addressed in a one-on-one conversation It is often beneficial to bring the issue to the attention of other board members through a group intervention. This is a fantastic opportunity for the chairperson to show that they appreciate every input and are not afraid to confront problematic behavior. It is also essential to keep track of the comments made so that you can update the group on any new information when you return to them.