What to do about Disruptive Board Members?


Disruptive healthcare board members can be found on all types of boards.  Often the so-called ‘disruptive’ hospital board member doesn’t realize his or her behaviors are problematic.  Alternately, he or she may feel justified in continuing the behaviors that are troubling to others.

Too often, boards have not have had any training or education on the proper role of a hospital board member.  A  Hospital Board Self-Assessment process that includes a written survey, individual interviews, and a thoughtfully-designed retreat provides an opportunity for the board and healthcare board members to observe themselves in the mirror.

Allowing board members to identify for themselves any weaknesses they’d like to address creates a teachable moment.  The self-assessment questionnaire and interviews can also ask about areas board members would like to receive additional education or training.  The board retreat then can include both a discussion of how to address behaviors that aren’t working as well as provide some ‘just-in-time’ education on the issues board members said they wanted.

Problems with disruptive hospital board membersA professionally-facilitated healthcare retreat can help board members speak openly about what troubles them. Since the agenda and issues raised come from board members own words, it helps reduce defensiveness.  The opportunity to provide education on board roles and have the board hold up a mirror so it can see itself from a different perspective can be incredibly powerful.

Any effective retreat should finish with an understanding of what follow-up is expected.  By the retreat’s conclusion, board members should identify 3-5 specific goals they have for the areas identified as needing improvement.  Board members are asked to decide who (or which committee) will take responsibility for following through and a timeline for reporting back is agreed to.

There is no magic bullet to addressing hospital board dysfunction and disruptive board members but a board self-assessment process and retreat, if approached thoughtfully, can make a significant difference and put the board on a path to higher performance.

Please call Via Healthcare Consulting today to assist with your board member needs. To read more about Board retreats, click here.