President and CEO Diane Price (dlprice@earlyconnections.org) said the prime time to be wary of board intrusion into personnel management is typically when new members join the board or there is a change in board leadership.

“The best strategy I use for fixing this is enlisting the support of current board members or the previous board leadership,” Price said.

“Over the past few years our board officers have done a good job of ‘training and preparing’ new officers for the transition to board officer. It also helps that our new board members participate in an orientation that covers their role,” Price said.

Price’s organization is 120 years old; it is well-managed and well-staffed with committed professionals in every department. “From time to time, however, the enthusiasm of new board members will require some intervention,” she said. “I remind them of the role of a good policy board and how difficult it is for me to lead the organization when a board member thinks they can supervise staff.”

When the top board officer is the individual who tries to intervene in the management of your staff, the situation can become very dicey for the CEO.

“A few years ago, I had a board chair that went rogue,” Price said. “It was a very difficult year and when this person’s name came up to fill another leadership position, I had to have a very hard conversation with the board governance committee.

“I told them I couldn’t stay on as CEO if this person continued in a leadership role,” Price said. “They had the conversation with their peer and he soon resigned.”