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Difficult member

14 years 6 months ago #150722 by hmrdaisy
Replied by hmrdaisy on topic Re:Difficult member
Thank you Lisa and everyone who responded.

I appreciate all your advice. Yes, I have figured out a plan based on the input and expect that this will be resolved successfully.
14 years 6 months ago #150715 by Lisa @ PTO Today
Replied by Lisa @ PTO Today on topic Re:Difficult member
Thanks to those who have jumped in to offer constructive advice on this thread.

Wanted to let you know that I jumped in to delete some of the posts -- in the spirit of "playing nice." Also, just a reminder that the boards are for exchanging ideas, getting advice and connecting with other leaders - not a place to handle local disagreements. Sometimes it's good to take a deep breath and remind ourselves why we are volunteering for parent groups in the first place -- for our kids. You are all volunteering for a great reason and should be commended for giving your time. Something to consider: what problem solving behavior do you want to model for your kids?

Hrmdaisy, it sounds like you have recvd some good advice here and that it has helped you figure out a direction. I hope this situation can be resolved peacefully so you can focus on your job. Wanted to pass along this article:
Hope you find it helpful.

Best of luck,
~ Lisa

follow me on twitter:
14 years 6 months ago #150711 by dlf
Replied by dlf on topic Re:Difficult member
Sounds like you all have your hands full!

Good luck
14 years 6 months ago #150701 by Jewel
Replied by Jewel on topic Re:Difficult member
It sounds like your by-laws need to be amended to cover this contingency, if not for use by the current board, to protect the harmony and productivity of future boards.
14 years 6 months ago #150699 by dlf
Replied by dlf on topic Re:Difficult member
"Marge" needs attention and the bottom line is you will not change her behavior. You do need to consider how you can best cope with her behavior. You cannot be held hostage to her demands but by the same token you don't want to create an atmosphere where she is completely disassociated. Is it possible to have a sit down with her to give her some feedback? It is important in that conversation to stay focused on her behavior and not make any determinations about her character. If you can possibly describe a specific behavior, for instance:

"When you spoke to me at the event on Saturday I felt your tone was not appopriate for the situtation and it embarrassed me in front of the folks that were present. When that happens I'm not as effective as I should be as far as dealing with your issue and in making things work well for the group. What do you think we can do about that?"

This model of feedback is called SBI (situation, behavior, impact) in management/communication theory and is a good way to isolate inappropriate behaviors and deal with them.

Now, since she needs attention-this isn't going to change...but if you can offer to her that you won't be able to deal with her if she isn't treating you with respect then you've at least set the bar as to your expectations for your collaboration with the group.

Staying as unemotional as possible is very important. "Marge" is a bully. If she comes at you again and begins to rant...use the univeral "stop" sign of putting your hand palm out, toward her and saying firmly but not yelling "Stop Marge". Keep your hand at your waist (not aggressively up at her face or anything) and get her attention by using her name. If that doesn't work, then stand quietly until she's done and let her know that the way she is approaching you is inappropriate and that you cannot deal with that type of communication between a colleague. That way your addressing the behavior. If she comes within some parameters of appropriate behavior, then pay attention to her and see if you can resolve her concern.

Does this sound like you're dealing with a child? Probably--but your goal is to manage these things so that you can get the most support of your parents for the children.

Good luck.
14 years 6 months ago #150696 by Jewel
Replied by Jewel on topic Re:Difficult member
Is Marge a board member or just a regular member of the general membership? If she is a board member, I believe I'd start looking the by-laws to see about ousting her as the board is not a place for her to be. If she is just in the general membership, your approach is the right one. BUT, practice figuring out how to say it firmly but without anger. I know it's difficult (I'm dealing with a lot of anger towards one of our volunteers currently), but I think being factual is key.

Maybe in your case, you could say, "Marge, should you have a concern at a PTO function in the future, please make certain to handle it in a quiet, discreet manner. When you spoke to me at the dinner, your voice was very loud with an angry tone. Many of our guests were startled by your outburst. We can't have this happen at PTO functions. Do you understand?"

She'll say something like, "Yeah, but, didn't you SEE what she was doing? She was blah, blah, blah, blah!"

You: "Never-the-less, please make certain to handle any concerns you have in the future quietly and privately so not to upset our guests."

Her: "But she was blah, blah, blah! That's terrible! We can't have people doing blah, blah, blah!"

You: "I understand this upset you, but we're talking about YOUR actions. In the future, make certain you.............."

Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary. Don't let her drag you into debate over the other woman's actions, but keep bringing her back around to what SHE did and what SHE isn't to do again.
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