Due to the nature of boards at some point in your nine person discussions, you're going to have disagreements. Disagreement, discussion, and debate are all part of group decision making. How you handle it is up to you. Your board discussions will be about matters that concern the college so it is important that you do your best to create collaborative and rational decisions.

It is oftentimes difficult to stay objective when someone actively disagrees with your opinion. Part of the reason you were selected to be a board member is that you exhibit skills necessary to work well in group situations.

Let's look at some strategies for creating good decisions even when there is disagreement. Tact, honesty, and trust are strategies to rely on. Being tactful keeps a difficult discussion at a professional level. Demonstrating honesty gives others no reason to second guess your opinions. Building trust by always showing an ethical approach in your words and actions allows others to see your opinions as genuine and not affected by other influences. Trust is eroded if you suspect a conflict of interest or the member is pushing an agenda.

If you do find yourself in a difficult exchange try to preface your statement with the phrase "...in my experience". This way you are not claiming you are right and the other person is wrong you are simply sharing your experience.

Finally having some non-threatening common ground to chat about makes it easier to recover and maintain good relations after a contentious board meeting.

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