A colleague recently requested advice about how to handle a problem with her Board that she felt had become toxic.

Unfortunately, these types of queries are not unusual.

I generally suggest the person simply leave, since it may be difficult to find a way to continue working in a dysfunctional organization.

But most folks are not in a financial position to quit without first acquiring another job.

So, they need to find a way to deal with the situation right now.

Sometimes, Boards make bad decisions without staff input, such as refusing to follow plans or budgets (or even to craft those in the first place). That may simply be how they are accustomed to conducting their own businesses.

Other times, one or more Board members have conflicts of interest and either don't realize it, don't think it matters, or don't care. Or, a strong-willed Board member - often the Chair - wins approval from colleagues who are loathe to challenge a proposal.

Board members may even perform tasks that are included in staff job descriptions, leaving employees to wonder who is actually responsible for what.

What can you do?

Meet with Board leaders (ideally, two or more people) to raise concerns in as non-confrontational a manner as possible. Ask them to clarify your duties and responsibilities. Do your best to do what they want you to do.

Then update your resume and discreetly look for another job.