Michael Tait offers advice on the chairman’s role in handling board disputes.

The chairman is the leader of a company’s board of directors. As such, the chairman has a critical role to play in ensuring the smooth functioning of the board and resolving any disputes that may arise among its members. A chairman who is able to handle conflicts effectively can help to maintain a positive and productive working environment. They can help the board to make important decisions in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.

Here are some steps a chairman can take to resolve disputes among the board:


1. Encourage open communication:
One of the first steps a chairman should take in resolving board disputes is to encourage open and honest communication among board members. The chairman should provide a safe and neutral environment in which board members can express their opinions and concerns. They should actively encourage all members to participate in discussions and decision-making.

2. Identify the root cause of the dispute:
It is important for the chairman to understand the root cause of the board dispute in order to address it effectively. This may involve gathering information from all parties involved. Importantly, looking for common ground or areas of agreement.

3. Seek mediation or outside help:
If the dispute is particularly complex or sensitive, the chairman may need to seek mediation or outside help to resolve it. This could involve bringing in a neutral third party. This could be a mediator or outside consultant, to help the parties involved reach a mutually acceptable solution.

4. Encourage compromise and collaboration:
A good chairman will encourage all parties involved in a board dispute to work together to find a solution that is in the best interests of the company. This may involve compromising and making concessions. It will involve working together to find a solution that meets the needs of all parties involved.

5. Maintain confidentiality:
It is important for the chairman to maintain confidentiality and to respect the privacy of all parties involved in the dispute. This can help to prevent the situation from escalating and can help to build trust and confidence among board members.

6. Make a decision:
Once a solution has been reached, the chairman should make a clear and decisive decision on how to resolve the dispute. This may involve putting the decision to a vote. It will involve making a final decision based on the best available information and advice.

In conclusion, resolving board disputes is an important part of a chairman’s role. By encouraging open communication, identifying the root cause of the dispute, seeking mediation or outside help, encouraging compromise and collaboration, maintaining confidentiality, and making a clear and decisive decision, a chairman can help to maintain a positive and productive working environment and ensure that the board is able to make important decisions in the best interests of the company.

CGI – How boards handle conflict and tension