Shut Up And Move Out Of The Way

Non-speaking board members imageIn any group dynamic, disagreement will occur. In fact, it happened just yesterday when my daughters were figuring out where we should go for ice cream. Of course, the results were the same for my children – full tummies and messy faces — but what happens when the consequences are dramatically different? What do you do if you are a part of a committee or Board of Directors and there is no obvious path for agreement?

Step 1: Face the fact that a divide is inevitable.

But what is step 2? You move forward with the plan if you are in the majority – but what if you end up in the minority and still feel passionate about the issue? Do you:

  • Help anyway?
  • Bad-mouth the rest of the group to anyone who will listen?
  • Sabotage the group?
  • All of the Above.

OK. That was unfair. The correct choice is “e” – Shut up and get out of the way. That is, assuming that you want the group to succeed after the decision.

You will never agree with every group decision, but as your parents should have taught you (or at least the Rolling Stones) – you can’t always get what you want. And that’s not a bad thing. A strong group represents the diverse aspects of the population it serves and every voice should be heard. But if one voice is always able to drown out the others, the group’s voice is really only the voice of the one.

If you are voted down, don’t treat the defeat like a vote off the island. Do not:

  • continue to harp on why your way is better;
  • use any setbacks to remind the group they could have gone in a different direction;
  • talk poorly about the project to anyone except your spouse or confidant;
  • discontinue friendships due to lack of support for your ideas; or
  • leave the group.


  • Keep quiet.
  • Take a back seat or ask to step off the project
  • Support those who need it
  • Take the high road

Remember that the future of your group is more important than your ego.

“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” Reverend Ralph Washington Sockman