LCO 101: 6 Tips for Resolving Board Conflict

Categories: LCO 101

Successful LCOs are run by a diverse board of directors composed of people with a variety of skill sets, backgrounds, and points of view. That healthy diversity can sometimes lead to conflict, but LCOs that deal with conflict professionally and constructively are healthier and stronger in the long run. Here are some tips to help you navigate potential conflict.

© Haeda Photography

1. Make it about your mission.

Working through conflict with a steady focus on your mission puts everyone on common ground, depersonalizes topics, and frames work for the greater good.

2. Pinpoint the issue.

To really address conflict, you have to clearly define it and work to gain a shared understanding among the board.

3. Minimize e-communication.

Emailing, group chats, message boards, and texts are terrible mediums for conflict resolution. Have the discipline to save it for an in-person meeting or teleconference.

4. Use those guardrails.

Make sure your bylaws have the necessary guardrails in place to address typical areas of conflict—including term limits, termination procedures, and a clear code of conduct for board members.

5. Bring in a third party.

Sometimes you just need to call in outside help to break a logjam. When you’re stalled out or a conflict between board members gets out of hand, a neutral, third-party consultant may be your best bet.

6. Approach JEDI issues in good faith.

Many boards are actively working to address justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion issues. It’s essential everyone approaches these discussions with care and deep respect. Board members may be in very different places in their understanding of JEDI issues, so it’s crucial to have these discussions with patience, tolerance, and an assumption of good faith.

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© Adventure Visionaries

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