Community Manager's Minute: Soothing the Angry Board Member
This month, Julie Adamen focuses on tips to help deal with 2 common board member conflicts: How to deal with a board member who has an agenda, and how to mitigate conflicts between board members - both incredibly helpful topics that many of us have encountered at some point in our community management careers. Don't miss these great videos!
New Board Members with an Agenda
First off, it's annual meeting time, which means board elections, which means new board members. So how do you handle the person who lobbies and gets elected on the platform that they are going to reduce community expenses by getting rid of the management company?
The trick, Julie says, is to be PROACTIVE! Meet with them, offer to give them everything they need for their 'investigation', and follow through as promised. Be completely transparent and make yourself a conduit of information. This keeps your credibility alive, takes the focus off you, and may even have the bonus effect of proving to the board member that professional management is, in fact, an asset to the community.
Conflicts Between Board Members
Right along with the board member with an agenda, you have our next favorite - feuding board members! When board members are in conflict with each other, it can be very hard on the community manager. Julie identifies 7 reasons why conflict may arise between board members:
- They do not Understand their role
- They have a lack of information
- Personality clashes
- Competing agendas
- Poor communication skills
- Psychological issues
- They are just jerks
Unfortunately, as the community association manager, there is not a lot you personally can do about numbers 3 through 7, but you can do something to mitigate numbers 1 and 2. Here are some things you can do to help board members in conflict for these two reasons:
- Give information and documentation early, often, and with a smile.
- Help new board members become comfortable in their roles, with each other, and with you.
- Encourage board members to attend board member educational classes and seminars, such as CAI's Essentials of CA Volunteer Leadership class. (Contact your local CAI chapter for more information.)
- If classes are not available in your area (or board members are unable to attend) refer them to this document to teach them the basic concepts and what is expected of whom.
- If the above was too long to read, refer them to this document to give them a quick overview of expectations.
What do you think?
Do you have methods that you use to calm feuding board members, or cater to a board member with an agenda? Let us know how you deal with these situations in the comments!