Sunday, August 3, 2014

Association Board Disinterest or Rudeness?

When I started in association management, three forms of board behavior really ticked me off.

Board members that didn’t pay attention seemed rude and frequently blamed leaders or staff for them not knowing what was happening.

Those three behaviors included:

  • Reading the newspaper during the board meeting.
  • Talking with their neighbors during the board meeting (usually when someone else was speaking or giving a report).
  • Sneaking out of the board meeting to find a pay phone so they could call home or call the office.
I was thinking about this the other day when we were developing our ASAE14 presentation called “Boards that Fail and How to Fix Them.” (See the Top 10 Reasons Boards Fail).

I realize that board members still exhibit forms of rudeness and disinterest.

Those behaviors are:
  1. Reading news on their tablets and/or smart phones.
  2. Texting back and forth with neighbors or other board members (sometimes “complaining” about the board chair).
  3. Making or receiving calls on their smart phones without leaving the meeting room.
I often coached chairs on “handling” rude behavior:
  • “Calling out” board members on their behavior.
  • Laying out “ground rules” for board behavior.
  • Stopping board discussion until those misbehaving stopped and pay attention.
Those steps were fairly simple.

New technology, however, is not so simple. Texting other board members during a meeting, for example, will become problematic with future boards especially as the newer generations become board members.

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