It’s the third time this year: A fellow board member has missed a month of board meetings, and isn’t responding to emails or phone calls.
The board has already scolded them about attendance and participation, but the reminder seems to go unnoticed. You, and probably the rest of the board, is thinking the same thing: Is it time to vote them off? Here are five signs that it’s time to vote a board member out.
1. They Are Not Participating
Participation includes attending board meetings, fulfilling assignments, or working within their committee. Like any other job or commitment, board members need to be fulfilling their duties. If one of the members is not, their position may be better suited to someone who has more time or is more willing to participate. As a board, it is also important to remember that a lack of participation might be involuntary; sometimes work, family emergencies, or jobs can get in the way. If the board does end up voting that member off, think about keeping communication open in case they want to re-run in the future.
2. They Are Unreachable
Like our example in the beginning, if a board member is not responding to emails, texts, or phone calls, that is a problem. This flaw should not be the sole reason to vote them off, but repeat offenders or a combination with any of the other reasons in this article may cause too many problems for the board. Communication is vital when working on a project or in a committee, and should not be disregarded by any of the members of a board.
3. They Are Rude or Hostile
Rudeness or hostility can be seen in body language, words, or actions. Rolling eyes, passive aggressive language, or resistance towards certain projects is not acceptable for a board member. Cooperation is required to make any organization run, which sometimes means compromising on issues. If a board member is not willing to work with others, they may not be the best fit for your board.
4. They Are Not Pulling Their Weight
It may not be on purpose, but board members who have a lot on their plate might prioritize the board and the organization last. This can result in a lack of participation or quality work. Talk to the board member in question before deciding to vote them off; Their lack of work ethic may be because of something simple, or because of a deeper problem within the board.
5. They Do Not Have the Organization in Mind
One of the most vital things to remember when taking a position on a board is that the board should be using their power to advance the organization and its mission--not for personal status or gain. While serving on a board may look good on a resume, that should not be your only reason for serving. When recruiting members, always look for candidates that are invested in the mission of your organization or that are genuinely interested. Candidates that are trying to climb the ladder will not be nearly as helpful to your organization.
Voting a board member out can sometimes be an unfortunate, but necessary change. Depending on your situation, think about inviting the board member to re-run if their schedule opens up or if their situation changes. As a board member or a board chair, think about what is best for your organization.