In my last post I spoke about boardroom dynamics – the social patterns that operate in the boardroom that shape the communication processes, which ultimately affect the decision-making capability of the board.
They are important because, as Cairns (2003) states in the book Boardrooms that Work: ‘What brings boards and companies down is dysfunction in their social system’.
When boards function well, they make good decisions. The reverse is also true – dysfunctional boardroom behaviours can significantly impact effective decision-making and board performance.
There is a lot written about dysfunctional boardroom behaviours and group dynamics. To keep it simple, there are four dysfunctional board group dynamics that are commonly described in the literature:
In my experience, if you find yourself on a board that operates with any of these patterns, there are a range of strategies that you can put in place to minimise the impact of each of these behaviours. Some of these include the following:
As I mentioned in my previous post, don’t underestimate the important role that an effective chair plays in establishing and promoting good board behavioural dynamics. With the right chair, with the right capabilities, and a group of directors who understand their role and responsibilities, dysfunctional boardroom behaviours can be minimised.