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Got a tricky board on your hands? Here’s how you can deal with it


27 May 2021 at 4:40 pm
Maggie Coggan
We speak to Denis Moriarty AM, the managing director of Our Community, for some advice 


Maggie Coggan | 27 May 2021 at 4:40 pm


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Got a tricky board on your hands? Here’s how you can deal with it
27 May 2021 at 4:40 pm

We speak to Denis Moriarty AM, the managing director of Our Community, for some advice 

As most charity CEOs will say, a good relationship with your board is one of the keys to running a successful organisation. 

But if you come up against a board that’s inflexible, or is failing to communicate properly with executive management, that relationship might become strained. 

We sat down with Denis Moriarty AM, the managing director of Our Community, for some advice on how to mend or manage that relationship in a way that won’t destroy the organisation. 

Understand your board

More often than not when you are struggling with your board it will be down to a couple of difficult individuals rather than the entire group.

You can head to Our Community’s website to help get your head around some of these tricky board types. 

Be proactive

Sitting back and hoping that the problems you’ve been having will disappear is wishful thinking. You need to work with your more-compliant board members to figure out some long-term measures that will nip the problem in the bud in the first place. 

“This can include screening potential members during recruitment, a good induction program, and position descriptions to clarify roles,” Moriarty said. 

“We encourage organisations to conduct a regular assessment of the performance of the board and its members. This way board members will know if their behaviour is causing problems and give them a chance to improve.” 

Create a culture that welcomes conversation 

Conflict isn’t always a dirty word. If it does come to that between you and the board there are ways to make sure it’s constructive. 

A good culture within the organisation will allow for good communication, which Moriarty said can be created by being transparent and open about problems from the very beginning. 

“Robust conversations and diverse perspectives are essential for organisations, but they shouldn’t get in the way of good decisions,” he said.  

“A good culture will allow good communication.”  

Don’t deal with it alone 

Trying to single handedly solve problems with board members isn’t recommended. It will be stressful, and you probably won’t be able to come to a positive resolution. 

Instead, consult the board chair or deputy chair, as well as executive managers, early on so they are up to speed and can support you where necessary.

For more tips, head to the Our Community website. 


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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