Healthy conflict, in which conflicting viewpoints are debated, can be of significant benefit to an organisation, if it is effectively managed. Creating a forum where decisions and approaches are open to challenge and new ideas can be constructively discussed is vital if the management committee/board is to provide effective leadership for the organisation. It enables the committee to be open and responsive to stakeholders, to adapt to change, to plan effectively for the future, and to regularly review and evaluate its own performance.
These suggestions are tools available to committee members. Consider what would be appropriate to your circumstance and what would help address both the causes and the symptoms of conflict which are damaging your organisation.
Some of this material draws on NCVO's online guidance for trustees in England and Wales. It has been adapted for use here with their kind permission.
Healthy conflict, in which conflicting viewpoints are debated, can be of significant benefit to an organisation, if it is effectively managed. However unhealthy conflict can divert energy, demoralise staff and volunteers, and prevent the organisation from fulfilling its mission.
Voluntary organisations are strongly value-based, and may experience intense conflicts about directions and policies. Others have difficulty due to conflicting roles or personal differences.
If allowed to persist, damaging conflict can harm the ability of the organisation to fulfil its mission. They can put off potential funders and donors, placing the organisation's finances at risk and damaging the organisation's reputation. As a result, staff and volunteers can become demoralised and service users or beneficiaries can be placed at risk.
Most management committees/boards have some sort of challenge with individual members. Here's some examples with ideas regarding how you can handle this effectively.
Remember! All committee members have a valuable role to play. The diversity of membership, with differing backgrounds, skill-sets, experience and personalities can be a source of strength for the organisation if effectively managed.
This guide is designed to help organisations identify how to avoid conflicts of interest and how to act appropriately if a conflict of interest does develop. Published by NICVA.
Click here for more information or to download.
Remember! Company directors have a statutory obligation to avoid conflicts of interest. For more advice click here.
Employees, volunteers and trustees should all put the interests of the charity first. A conflict of interests may arise where the objective of the organisation and the interests of management committee members or employees or volunteers do not coincide.