The best approach to deal with directors who are difficult to work with is preventative – make sure that your agency’s objectives for board members are clear and that they can combine their own vision with the company. This will limit the amount of instances when an individual’s advice to a board member is not beneficial. If there is a problem take action immediately and don’t overlook bad behavior. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.

It begins with direct intervention, a one-on-one conversation with the person who is causing issues. It’s crucial to be professional and calm, however direct in the discussion and clearly set out your concerns. If this doesn’t work, consider a group intervention with someone the board member likes, or the chair. You may also want to consider reviewing your agency’s Values Statement and/or other documents that govern your organization for language that could be used to define acceptable behavior, such as respecting people and the courtesy.

Another alternative is to request the person to quit the board (ideally by a voluntary decision however, if needed, through a vote of confidence). This will require careful preparation and planning prior the meeting or conversation. Prepare a thorough response to the main issues you wish to discuss. Be assertive, yet maintain an appropriate tone.

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