Your not-for-profit has probably spent a lot of time and effort attracting board members who have the knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment to make a difference to your organization. Unfortunately, what begins as a good relationship can sour over time, and you may find yourself in the tough position of having to “fire” a board member.
8 deadly sins
Several behaviors can interfere with your board’s efficacy. Pay particular attention to members who:
1. Regularly miss meetings. Everyone has time conflicts now and then, but a chronically absent member drags down your board’s productivity and can lower morale among other members.
2. Don’t accept or complete tasks. Board members who aren’t willing to assume their share of the work force other members to pick up the slack.
3. Are motivated by personal agendas. Board members who pursue their own interests can waste time trying to convince others of their way of thinking — or can steer your nonprofit off course.
4. Monopolize — or conversely, never participate in — discussions. There’s a happy medium when it comes to participation. Overbearing members stifle debate and those who sit silently through meetings may not be fully engaged.
5. Treat peers disrespectfully. Boards are a team, and their members need to work together amicably.
6. Betray confidentiality. Trust is an essential component of the board-organization relationship and your nonprofit can’t afford to have untrustworthy members.
7. Don’t disclose conflicts of interest. Board members risk eroding the trust of others, including external stakeholders if they make (or even appear to be making) decisions that benefit themselves over the best interests of your organization.
8. Don’t realize when it’s time to retire. If a longtime board member is preventing your organization from moving forward and staying relevant, it may be time for him or her to move on.
Any of these behaviors can be toxic to your organization. When they start to interfere with your board’s work, it’s time to take action.