A member of the Forum asks for your advice but wishes to remain anonymous to protect their job. They write the following:
“For 11 years I have been the sole manager at a small shelter with 10 employees. The organization has over the past few years steadily lost its way due to an executive director who appears out of their depth, experientially and emotionally. The ED is also the president of the 5-member board of directors. The lack of the executive's professionalism, indeed involvement in any day-to-day activity, has gutted staff and alienated once-loyal, longtime board members who gave selflessly of their time and skills and who raised substantial funds. The ED is now stripping employees of health care insurance in spite of my recommending we apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (she wants no part of it even though it would ultimately turn into a grant).
We have no HR department; those duties rest with me. The executive's lack of vision has frustrated me as I desperately seek ways to keep the organization afloat, but without the authority and means to do so.
The current board, appointed by the ED/President of the Board, rarely if ever meets; most of them live out-of-state and have little to no impact and are not involved in day-to-day operations. I feel I cannot safely seek their advice without jeopardizing my job because of the ED’s role as president.
This job is my life and I am willing to fight for it. I truly believe in what we do, and this is just absolutely breaking me. It's breaking my heart, and it's breaking me mentally, but the thought of leaving breaks my heart even more.
Has anyone in this group experienced a similar situation? Are there remedies you’ve employed to get things back on track? How would you as a neutral party offer business perspective into the mix, wherein the organization might begin to make the substantive changes needed?
I am extremely grateful for your advice.”