The best way to deal with board members who are difficult is preventative. Ensure that the goals of your agency’s board members are clear and they can blend their own vision with that of the organization. This will reduce the number of instances where a board member’s suggestions are counterproductive. But if a problem arises, deal with it early and don’t overlook bad behaviour. The More about the author longer you wait, the worse it gets.
It begins by establishing a direct, one-on-one discussion with the person who is causing the problem. Be calm and professional but also clear and communicate your concerns clearly. Ideally the person will agree with you and alter their behavior, however should that not work, consider engaging in a group discussion with the chair, or anyone other board member whom the chair respects highly. You may also want to review your agency’s Values Statement and/or other governing documents for wording that could be used to define acceptable behavior which includes respecting people and courteous manners.
Another alternative is to request the person to quit the board (ideally, voluntarily, but if necessary you can do it through a vote in confidence). This will require some meticulous planning and preparation ahead of the meeting or discussion. Prepare a thorough response to the principal issues you wish to discuss. Be assertive, yet maintain a polite tone.