It is inevitable that disagreements will occur during board meetings and boardroom processes. In fact, disagreements are encouraged because, with the right amount, this enables for new ideas to be formed and innovative thinking to arise, which is an essential part of change and decision-making. However, if disagreements aren’t appropriately managed, there is also a chance for board members to feel unheard or insignificant.
1. Know that it is OK
It is perfectly normal for disagreements to happen sometimes. It is about being proactive and diplomatic in presenting ideas and the thought processes behind them. A board is typically comprised of diverse individuals selected to cover a large array of skills, knowledge, perspectives and networks. Therefore, there will be different opinions.
2. Speak up
Although avoidance and silence may seem like the best and easiest options, these behaviours, should really be avoided. Silence could do more harm than good. Every board member’s opinion should be considered and respected, and even though one might be different, it should not be discredited. In fact, different opinions open up new opportunities and ways to problem-solve.
3. Respect and be respected
Although it may seem difficult to speak up, and having another opinion might cause you to feel out of line, all opinions should be respected. Control thoughts and emotions and present arguments with grace and empathy. Be aware that board members will always have different opinions, and opinions can change. A board member who holds the minority in opinion could easily hold the majority on another topic.
4. Be thorough
Meeting preparations should be conducted. For example, using the help of a visual or statistical aid could help persuade other board members of a new personal opinion. With factual backing, opinions will consolidate, and this can make it much easier to convince the rest of the board members, that your point is worth considering.
5. Use emotional intelligence
Knowing when it is the right time to say the correct thing is crucial when presenting a point. It is essential to understand the mood of the room. When presenting a personal opinion, it ‘s vital that you avoid coming across as too pushy or demanding to obtain the best results from other board members.