Question: How to handle a board member that is sucking all the fun out of the PTO?

We traveled along last year pretty well and this year we have a new board member who is a stickler for rules and procedure. She also questions EVERYTHING and worries about the finest points of detail in the bylaws, financing and activity planning. She wants to have more meetings and sub-meetings and the part that frustrates me is that she will immediately strike down any idea brought forth that is not hers but then at the next meeting re-introduce the idea as though it is hers with perhaps some little twist. (We should play Fall Bingo at an event instead of Turkey Bingo, or whatever) As I try to push her forward and focus her, I end up looking like the bad guy or like I'm lazy about details (the rest of the board typically sides with her on votes) so I'm not sure what to do besides continue to DREAD the coming school year.

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Well, she does sound like a bit of a killjoy, but chances are, she's not doing this to deliberately work against you. Rather, she is likely a nervous (even frightened) person who fusses over details because she's afraid something will go wrong. The desire to have even more meetings also speaks to that. Likely the best approach is to give her specific jobs and committee oversight responsibilities that are very detailed oriented. In other words, play to her strengths. If she's very busy with that stuff, she'll have less time for the less detail-oriented stuff. Ultimately, it would be great if you could balance each other out.

Community Advice

compdynamics writes:
Its amazing to me the number of hours that volunteers will put in, but when the "hard" questions are asked, Presidents & other board members seem to take it as a personal attack. It's business, simple as that. Sometimes those that question the financial or legal side of the business (PTO), actually may be business owners themselves & are quite knowledgeable in these areas. It's a shame that those that don't understand, taxes, insurance, non-profit laws, IRS, audits and roberts rules if order seem to label the "trouble-makers" or the ones that as you mention, "Sucking all of the fun out of the PTO!"

Community Advice

ella writes:
No..I did not. I believe that some people have "control issues".I feel that this stems from.a number of insecurity problems that are deep within a person personality. There are techniques that can be used that have proven to be successful in helping such people refocus thier energies and enable them to get along in.a professionL.manner without creating conflict. There is much research on this topic and you may find it useful. The person with controlling or competetive personlity does not "feel or believe" that they are in error, like we view them. So we must change our responses and behavior towards them.

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