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Board Bad Habits- Are They Epidemic?

By March 5, 2020March 19th, 2020No Comments

Have you ever noticed that unless you are really conscious, you tend to pick-up bad habits? For instance, maybe you eat healthy on a regular basis and one day decide to treat yourself to a dish of ice cream. Then, the next day you remember how good that ice cream was and decide to have another dish. And since it is still in the freezer, you may as well eat some more, right? Soon, you find yourself having ice cream every day and a bad habit has been born.

Since boards are made up of people, it is easy for them to “contract” bad habits in much the same way a virus is spread—- unless special efforts are made to keep them out of the group. Keeping the board healthy and vibrant takes focused effort, Board training and discussion about roles and responsibilities is crucial.

Be aware of the following three bad habits of boards; awareness will help the board avoid falling into the “bad habit epidemic.”

Bad Habit #1 – One of the biggest bad habits of nonprofit boards is board members who think that because they are board members they have the right to manage the day to day operations of the organization. These board members often get involved in staff supervision and micro-management of the organization. Left unchecked, this bad habit can lead to ongoing conflict with the executive director. If this habit exists in your organization, it is time to provide the board with education about board governance.

Bad Habit #2 – We all know the individual in any group who is consistently negative; talk by the negative person can become a problem when the topic of negativity is the board or the organization. Board members should be the biggest supporters or ambassadors for the organization. Board members should not discuss their concerns about the board, the executive director or other staff members, or the organization in public. Issues in any of these areas should be discussed, but they should be discussed confidentially within the board. And, once a decision is made at the board level, all board members become unified in their decision—there is no pointing of fingers or saying, “well, they might have made that decision, but I voted against it.”  Remember that Bible verse that says a house divided against itself cannot stand? That applies here.

Bad Habit #3 – There are often board members who become promise keepers. In other words, they make promises to those outside the organization about things the organization will do.  Then, they try to insist that the organization will fulfill those promises. Again, board members should understand that they cannot make promises on behalf of the organization. They can share ideas at board meetings, but decisions about what will and will not be done must be made together.

Board Training is essential to keep your board functioning in a healthy manner. But, high-quality board training can often be expensive. We are excited to offer you high-quality training at an affordable rate—Boardflics is an all new training to keep your board healthy and “virus” free.

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