Board chair micromanaging and bullying staff

Small rural nonprofit with 5 relatively new staff — I’m the longest-serving staffer at just under 4 years. Our board has a long-standing reputation of being difficult.

We hired a new ED about a year ago. She’s an absolute rock star who has secured funding, hired more staff, and substantially expanded our programs to serve a much wider audience.

Everyone is delighted except for a couple board members who are grasping for control and claiming the new expansion is not consistent with our mission. This is pretty obviously untrue and I suspect their underlying intent is to narrow our service population in order to be an exclusive social circle to impress their friends, which is definitely not in line with our mission.

Unfortunately one of these board members is currently the chair, who has taken to interacting directly with staff by giving specific orders and telling us what a terrible job we’re doing, etc. While our ED is aware, it tends to get worse when she’s absent and has left staff feeling unsafe and demoralized.

My understanding is that this is essentially an internal board issue and that other board members should reign in this kind of inappropriate behavior. That may happen yet, though I’m not holding my breath.

I am, however, curious about other options to avoid / mute / shut down the nonsense in the meantime. We just want to do our freaking jobs!

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