Recently, the Nonprofit Quarterly posted a classic article on how personality types affect boards. The article lists six “desirable qualities” in a board member, including “commitment,” “common sense and good judgment,” “respect for group process,” “centeredness,” “openness,” and “sense of humor.”
But there’s also a helpful list of five kinds of board members who can derail the board’s work. They get nicknames: “Johnny One-Note,” “Over-Boarded,” “Devil’s Advocate,” “Authority Figure,” and “Off-the-Wall Artist.” Take a look to see whether you have enough board members with the desirable qualities, and whether you can identify some of the less desirable people on your board as well.
The Nonprofit Quarterly article reminded me of a couple of pieces that In Trust ran a few years ago. Both of them are available to people affiliated with In Trust Center member institutions (and you’ll need to log in to read them): “Nipping Trouble in the Bud: When Board Members Behave Badly” and its sequel, “Anchoring Loose Cannons and Other Strategies for Peaceful Governance.” Both articles offer a list of bad behaviors followed by corrective action for each item. If you have some sour apples on your board, you may want to take a look!
Finally, a short piece from Blue Avocado on what to do about board members who don’t do anything. Check it out here.
Image credit: Charles Le Brun-Grande Commande-Les Quatre temperaments (modified)