Board members who are struggling can pose a significant challenge to the effectiveness and cohesion of the board. Although it’s tempting to let the issue slip away in the hope that the person will change their ways or leave the board when their term ends but that’s not an effective strategy. It is more likely that the behavior will continue to escalate and become more evident, affecting the rest of the team, making it harder for them to perform their duties efficiently.

Direct intervention is a way to deal directly with difficult board members. Invite the person to an appointment with the chair, or someone they respect and who is willing to listen to them to discuss the issues with their behavior. Find out the root of the underlying cause behind the behavior, such as an impression that they are not heard or valued by the other board members. It is also crucial to have a clear end game in mind, such as their behavior needing to change, so that the conversation does not become a heated argument or confrontation.

It is often beneficial to bring this issue to the attention other board members during a discussion group even if the individual isn’t confronted in a one-onone conversation. This is an excellent opportunity for the chairperson to demonstrate that they value everyone’s input and are not afraid to confront challenging behavior. Additionally, it’s important to keep a log of what was discussed to ensure that, when you go back to the group to discuss the discussion, you can update them on any new information you have gathered.

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