Fake it 'till you make it - How to be a GREAT Community Association Manager

Posted by Andrea Drennen, CMCA on February 25, 2014


Want to know how to be a great community association manager? No problem! First, let's work on the skills you need to have. 

You should know how to be a leader, an accountant, a lawyer, a negotiator, a politician, a judge, a jury, a general contractor, a project manager, a broker, a law enforcement officer, an arborist, a roofer, a marketer, a sales person, a secretary and a cat herder

Never mind that all of these skills could take you 108 years of schooling to get through, you need to know all that right now. And you need to keep up on those skills. And you need to add to them constantly. And you should get licensed and certified. In everything.

A little overwhelming isn't it? So how do the good ones manage it? How do you become a great community association manager and gain all of these skill sets without going completely, utterly, stark-raving mad? It's simple.

You fake it.

The difference between a harried property manager who seems like she knows nothing, and a successful CAM manager who's got it all under control is really simple. It's confidence. People naturally gravitate to confidence - someone who knows precisely where they are, and has a vision on how to get to where they want to be is someone others will believe in, and will follow.

You've seen it in countless movies - that moment when the hero, who has no business being somewhere (like the big, bad corporation) manages to get into the TOP SECRET area with no special abilities other than his good looks or charm. How does he pull it off? Confidence. Because he looks like he belongs - like he knows where he is, what he is doing, and precisely his place in the scheme of things, he can literally fit in anywhere.


Confidence is the key to faking your way to becoming the next big thing in Community Association Management. With confidence, and a little networking, you can fake your way through all of those skills listed above, in spite of not knowing very much about any of them.

Here's how you can pull it off:

  1. Believe in yourself

    One of the most important aspects of confidence is believing in what you are selling (yourself). Love what you do, and give yourself to it 100% and people will believe in it as well. "Confidence says 'I know what I'm talking about and I passionately believe it's important and true.'" -Doug Kessler.

  2. Change your posture

    It may sound odd to bring something as simple as your posture into the discussion, but research has proven that your non-verbal body language is highly influential in how people react to you.

    To show that you have authority, you can use Power Poses to inspire confidence. Check out this amazing TED talk on power poses:

    (On a completely unrelated note, I just love the tip about holding a pen in your mouth to force yourself to smile, making you happier in turn. I am so totally holding a pen in my mouth this very minute. Cheese!)

  3. Surround yourself with Experts

    We've already established that no one person can know every skill for every profession that is expected of a CAM Manager (unless your name is Jarod). So the best way to give yourself access to all of the information you are expected to know is to establish a network of experts who DO know.

    Even a brand new community manager can build a network of experts by interviewing vendors in the various areas of expertise. The vendors will know everything there is to know about their specific trade, and they are usually thrilled to share their knowledge with a willing listener.

  4. Find a Mentor to emulate

    When you are faking anything in life, it helps to have someone to emulate. Following another successful manager who's done it all before is a great way to learn how to do it right. If you can't find one locally, try looking online. Don't be afraid to ask them why they do things the way they do.

    As the saying goes, 'Experience is the best teacher' (so don't be afraid to take advantage of someone else's experience!)

  5. Be Humble

    Confidence does not mean taking credit for other people's work. If you are taking advice from your network of experts and your mentor, give credit where credit is due! Your humility will simply serve to make you a better leader who listens to those who have something to say - it will inspire even more confidence in you.

  6. Never fake the important stuff

    It's one thing to fake a confidence you may not feel at first, but there are times when it's OK to take shortcuts and times when it is absolutely, positively a TERRIBLE idea. Never fudge the numbers. Your accounting is sacrosanct. Do it right, and if you don't know how, hire someone who can. Also, never give advice that should come from one of those professionals you built up in your 'expert network'. That's why you have them! Finally, never mess around with the law. If you aren't sure, that's the time to ask.

  7. Set Goals (and follow them!)

    When dealing with a large group of people, it can be difficult to keep everyone on track. The secret is to have a shared goal that everyone can work toward. With a set of goals that were agreed on by the group, you can often divert people from their personal agendas by reminding them to stay focused. And there is no better confidence booster in the world than achieving something you set out to do!

At the end of the day, confidence is a state of mind. All of these tips are simply ways to convince yourself that you are more confident, and thus BE more confident. One day, you will find that you no longer have to fake it, and that you have, in fact, become the great property manager you were striving to be.  

Click here to see a what your community looks like in TOPS [ONE].