Dear Dr. Conflict: Does Keeping Your Mouth Shut Work?

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I have been following a news story about an organization that was paying its founder an outsized salary—outsized in comparison to local organizations, and also, apparently, relative to the impact of the organization. The grants given by the organization seem to have been given overwhelmingly to organizations connected in some way to members of the board. Board members consulted for the articles in the local press have expressed general confidence in the founder and president, but none of them seems to be able to answer any substantive questions—first professing that they did not know the answers and now because a lawyer won’t allow it.

The founder and president has announced his resignation, and the organization’s secretary, who in that role was paid more than many of the comparison salaries at other institutions, will move up.

So here is the question: When you do stuff that ticks people off but then refuse to engage with those folk you have enraged, does the conflict eventually just simmer down? My impression is that it used to but that it’s harder now to just let something like this die without answering to the issues and making moves that are more decisive than an executive leaving close on the heels of very public criticism.

It’s an interesting question, and perfect for Dr. Conflict—but do you have any questions for him about your own experience with conflicts in an around your nonprofit? Dr. Conflict stands ready to advise; write to him here, and we will be sure to change names, etc.. to protect the innocent.