It’s election season, which means that both the candidates and the voters have a decision to make. Can I do this? Can he/she do this?
Being on the board means that you have to make some weighty decisions for your HOA. The board controls the HOA’s money, is in control of the upkeep and makes decisions about what is best both for the short and long term for the HOA.
So what traits make someone more suited for this role? We’ve found seven of the most important attributes which make a really great board member.
1. Be fair: Board members are there to serve the whole community. That means everyone in the HOA needs to be treated the same, whether you love them or hate them. A board member needs to put aside any other relationship they may have with residents when dealing with them. Rules must be applied to everyone equally, including yourself! Do as I say, not as I do is not an attitude that a board member should have. They need to lead by example and treat everyone equally.
2. Be open and willing to find a middle ground: Everyone in your HOA deserves to be listened to, and when a decision needs to be made the board needs to make it in the best interest of the whole HOA, not just a select few. This means listening to all opinions both within the board and among residents. No one board member can control the decision-making process, and negotiation is necessary to be able to find that middle ground where the best solution is found.
3. Be conscientious: Every single board member must have a strong sense of integrity and be conscientious all the time. The new Florida Bill that just has become law is partly to crack down on board members who embezzle money or cheat elections. No one wants that person on their board. So be aware of the laws that govern your HOA and obey them AT ALL TIMES, even when no-one is watching.
4. Have a thick skin: Residents may get irritable and blame their board members for decisions or changes they don’t like. Take deep breaths and remember they’re not criticizing you personally. Your HOA is a business and tough decisions must be made, and you cannot take complaints personally.
5. Your authority is not absolute: No HOA member has power and authority in themselves. The authority comes from the board, never ever forget that. The board as a whole makes decisions to positively impact the community. Sometimes individual members won’t like the decisions made, but that happens sometimes and does not mean they can complain to other residents. Make sure your board is a unified group at all times.
6. Be adaptable: The world is changing quickly, you must be open to change within your HOA. Just because you’ve been doing something one way for a long time does not mean it’s the best way of doing something. Be open to using technology to improve HOA management and communication. Neigbrs is software to that brings a new concept of comfort to the condominiums through innovative experiences with the latest technology.
7. Take your role seriously: You are in partial control of a business with up to millions of dollars in assets, and this is not a role that can be taken lightly. Make sure you think through your opinions properly, do research and know when to compromise and when to put your foot down in defense of your HOA.
Board members have to work together and communicate with each other to make the best decisions for their HOA. Serious financial decisions have to be made as a group, though day to day issues can cause almost as much friction among members. Being willing to compromise, adapt, being honest and diligent are key qualities for board members. Never forget how important your role is, and that your authority lies in the board, not in yourself. The best boards are also open and honest with their residents and include them as much as possible in debates.