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5 Ways Executives Can Manage Conflict with the Board

High stakes, strong wills, and increasing uncertainty can make decisions at the top of your organization fraught. The backing of a board can mobilize an organization, but a significant divergence of vision and values may lead the board to stall progress on an organization’s highest priorities — and even unseat a CEO. Executives must proactively and productively make covert disagreements overt and foster a healthy dialog with board members. First, they must be the thermostat in the room, raising tough topics and pushing productive conversations. Second, they must inform the room of a full situation and its status early and often. Third, they must identify and break down early signals of conflict among members. Fourth, they must keep the long view in mind, even in a short-term crisis. Finally, they must avoid polarities in decision-making, encouraging all members to consider the upsides and downsides of all options.

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