About John H. Ganoe, CAE

CAMICB is a 20-year-old independent board that sets the standards for community association managers worldwide. CAMICB is the first and only organization created solely to certify community association managers and enhance the professional practice of community association management.

CMCA and Candidate Listservs

Your input is needed!


CAMICB has maintained two listservs for both CMCAs and CMCA exam candidates for almost 10 years. The listservs require you to subscribe and act as a discussion board. Recently, we’ve noticed a decline in activity. We want to know the best way to help you connect to your peers. Let us know! We’ve brainstormed some ideas:

  • Monthly “Ask a CAMICB Subject Matter Expert”
  • LinkedIn group for CMCA discussion
  • Live webinars with Q&A for your peers
  • Networking session for CMCAs at the CAI Annual Conference

We’re open to suggestions. CAMICB wants to create a space for dialogue, communication and networking. Tell us what you’d like in the comment section below.

Why Do So Many Bosses Fail or Quit?

By Marcel Schwantes

One thing good leaders don’t do is drive their people like cattle.

Increasingly over the years, I have witnessed more companies racking their collective HR brains trying to figure out how to best engage their employees to perform at a high level.

Well, put the foosball tables, climbing walls, and nap pods away. Culture is king in shaping employee engagement, and it doesn’t come from external perks commonly found in tech-startups, but by leaders that build the emotional commodity of trust with their employees.leadership

First step: stop “driving” people

That means changing your business lingo. I hear a lot of ego-tripping language about how leaders “drive” performance. It’s a popular word in business, an aggressive and celebrated hard people skill of bottom-liners, and it works. It also ruins the health and well-being of both bosses and employees driving themselves into the ground. There is a better way.

The reality is that over the last decade, leadership cultures have changed. And “driving” no longer has a place in open, people-centric, democratic work cultures where employees are valued and have a voice.

If you think about it, we drive cattle, cars and trucks, but they have no say because we’re in charge. We push them through, steer them where we want them to go, and that’s the opposite of what good leadership is about.

Good leaders lead from the heart — inspiring people into action and encouraging high performance — not drive them like cattle to the slaughter house.

Why so many bosses fail or quit, summed up in one sentence

The reason either scenario happens so often is because they neglect to share their leadership with others.

The rare practice of “sharing leadership” is the way good leaders go about developing a strong culture of trust. Yet it’s totally counter-intuitive and a severe blind spot for most controlling, status- and attention-seeking bosses, leading to their quick demise.

For them, the inability to share leadership has roots in both fear and ego: fear of failure if they release control, and a false ego to hide their insecurity.

Lets unpack what sharing leadership looks like in practice:

  • They facilitate a shared vision.
  • They share power and release control
  • They share leadership by pushing authority down.

1. Facilitate a shared vision

Barry Posner and Jim Kouzes, co-authors of the bestselling book, The Leadership Challenge, have surveyed tens of thousands of employees about what they look for and admire in a leader. 72 percent want leaders who are forward-looking. In other words, they want vision.

But even more important than a visionary leader is one who reflects the visions and aspirations of their people. These leaders provide answers to three questions:

  • Where are we going?
  • Why do we exist?
  • What principles guide our decisions and actions?

When a vision addresses all three of these questions, tremendous energy is unleashed to a team. There is going to be a higher level of commitment because everyone on the team is clear about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how their work contributes to the bigger picture.

These leaders communicate an image of the future for their team members that draws them in and speaks to what they see and feel. But they don’t drive the vision forcefully. They encourage team members to contribute their ideas and insights toward the vision.

2. Share power and release control.

Unlike command-and-control leaders who exercise their power through their positional authority, power and control in democratic teams come from the whole — generated by the enthusiasm, respect, shared values, and commitment the whole team has to a specific project, task, or strategy. And the leader sets the stage for this to happen.

Here’s what these leaders do that most don’t or fear doing: They let their people take turns leading. I worked for such a leader back in my corporate days over ten years ago. Here are some clear-cut examples of how he shared his leadership:

  • Made me feel like an equal by giving me decision-making freedom.
  • Was approachable and spent considerable time mentoring and guiding me.
  • Asked me coaching questions like, “What would you like to do in this situation?” to increase my learning.
  • Stretched my development and built up my competence by putting me in places and positions usually reserved for his role. (Ex: He rotated me ahead of schedule into a prestigious committee chair role he held for years)

By all accounts, I was very much accountable to him, he was still the boss, but I remember how much more satisfied and engaged I was than any previous job because he shared his leadership.

3. Push authority down.

Everybody is familiar with the leader-follower structure in a top down culture. It’s still the prevalent way that most companies operate. What’s appealing about this is that it takes responsibility away from followers with a brain to think on their own.

The issue here is crystal clear: Employees are released from any responsibility of the hard work of thinking, making decisions, and being accountable because they only go as far as doing the bare minimum — following orders from the boss.

This programmed mindset of only doing what the boss tells you has a cost. People who are treated as followers end up treating others as followers when it’s their turn to lead. As the cycle repeats itself, companies lose out on tapping into the human potential of their workforce.

In highly effective organizations there are leaders at every level, not just at the top. The solution is always to push authority down, so you’re creating a leader-leader, not leader-follower, culture.

The first order of priority in pushing decision making authority down to your team members is to increase their competence. What do they need to get good at their job? What training will build up their skills and knowledge?

The result of increased competence, technical or otherwise, is the ability to delegate more control and authority down the ranks because they are now equipped to handle it. This is what good leaders recognize and do.

Hard questions to ask

Increased decision making among team members down the ranks will naturally result in greater engagement, motivation, and initiative to take on larger tasks and tougher responsibilities. If you’re a leader reading this, I assure you, practicing the rare skill of sharing leadership will result in significantly higher productivity, morale and effectiveness.

I end with some hard questions for leaders to reflect on:

  • How deeply is the top-down leader-follower structure ingrained in your team or company?
  • What can you do to create a space for open decision making by the entire team?
  • Are you under-using the creativity and passion of your team members who want to have more responsibility?


Marcel Schwantes is principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, a leading provider of servant-leadership training and coaching designed to create healthy, engaged, and profitable work.

In The News

Flood insurance: Condos and the rising tide

By Jimmy Jackson

Perhaps you’ve noticed homes in Norfolk’s Larchmont neighborhood jacked up several feet to escape flooding, or you’ve seen chilling news photos of single-family houses or townhouses surrounded by floodwater.

Sights like these may give the impression that single-family homes, whether detached or attached, are the primary residential structures vulnerable to flood dangers.

But don’t assume you’re high and dry just because you own a condominium. Sure, you might think that because you’re in a second-floor unit, or because your half of the condo development stays dry when the other half has standing water, you are safe from the need for flood insurance.

Experts say otherwise.in-the-news

“They should be concerned because water doesn’t care about the ownership structure of a property. It doesn’t care if it’s a condo, apartment, single-family house or mobile home,” said Richard Braun, president of the Braun Agency, Nationwide, a Virginia Beach-based insurance agency.

As a condominium owner, you own your unit. But additionally, Braun emphasized, you also own “a fractional share of the whole condo development.” That means you have obligations to maintain not only your condo development’s clubhouse, paved areas and other facilities, but the roofs and exteriors of all units.

One way this is commonly accomplished is through a master liability and casualty insurance policy obtained by your condo association. The casualty portion, for example, provides fire and extended coverage to replace or repair structures damaged or destroyed by fire.

“Every association is managed by their condo documents” and bylaws, Braun said, so if you want to verify whether your development has flood insurance, inspect your association’s bylaws and documentation. He said your association’s budget should also indicate how much it spends on flood insurance.

If an association board skips flood insurance, simply acquiring flood insurance for your own unit isn’t sufficient. Consider this scenario excerpted from www. allpropertymanagement.com:

“If Joe insures his condo, but Jane next door doesn’t insure hers, and there’s a flood, and Jane can’t repair the damage on her side of the wall because she can’t afford to, Joe’s property values will be substantially negatively affected. Furthermore, suppose Joe and Jane both cover their own units individually, but the board never secures coverage for the common areas. The pool area, weight room, lobby and administrative office are submerged in a flood.

At best, the board of directors would have to enact a massive assessment to raise money to repair the damage. Many condo owners won’t be able to afford it. The burden would be borne by a few unit owners with the liquidity to come up with the cash – if then – and they’d probably sue the others for failing to pay their assessments! What would happen to the value of the property in the interim? It would be a disaster.”

FEMA offers condominium coverage via the National Flood Insurance Program, including the Residential Condominium Building Association Policy, which provides coverage for residential condominium buildings without imposing the burden of purchasing individual policies for each unit.

FEMA also warns associations in flood zones against skipping insurance: “Unit owners need to be aware that, if for any reason a condominium association elects to discontinue its RCBAP, individual unit owners may be responsible for covering flood damage. That is why having flood insurance and proper coverage is important for all residents living in condominium buildings, including high-rise condominiums. It doesn’t matter if you live on the first, third or 10th floor, every unit owner has an undivided interest in the common elements of the building and can be assessed for unpaid damages to common areas even if their own unit remains undamaged. Also, condominium by-laws require all unit owners to be assessed for uninsured damages to common areas of a building if damaged by flood.”

Additionally, Scott Wegner, a flood insurance expert with Prosper Insurance Group in Virginia Beach, said mortgage lenders may also insist that condominiums in a flood zone have flood insurance as a condition for getting a loan or financing a purchase. Flood insurance protects lenders’ investment in your property.

Moreover, banks often choose to sell their mortgage loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, but neither entity will buy loans on properties that face a flood hazard and do not have flood insurance. This gives lenders yet another reason to demand that borrowers, including condo buyers, have the protection of flood insurance.

Jimmy Jackson, ABR, GRI, SFR, with Rose & Womble Realty, is chairman of the Hampton Roads Realtors Association’s Common Interest Community Forum.

Community Association Management SmartBrief

Have you signed up for Community Association Management SmartBrief yet? NBC-CAM provides a free, weekly e-mail newsbrief specifically designed for community association managers. Sign up here.

This complimentary resource is aimed at bringing you a quick, two-minute read that will help you keep up-to-date with the latest news and trends in our profession. SmartBrief will provide short summaries of the news articles that will be of interest to you as a community association manager. We know it will save you time, keep you informed and add to your success. I hope you will subscribe.

Here’s what you missed this week:

In the News

More legislative changes for Colo. HOAs
After several embezzlement scandals rocked community associations, Colorado lawmakers passed a law that will dictate debt-collection practices for HOAs, including offering overdue homeowners a six-month payment plan before pursuing collection. Other new laws also require community managers to be licensed by the state and prohibit some areas from installing turf grass. The Denver Post (7/4)


Leaders come in 5 flavors, researchers say
There are five leadership styles upon which executives depend, according to a recent study. Some bosses have a gruff, “tough love” approach; others are nurturing mentors, hard-working single-minded leaders or “country clubbers” who get things done by networking and charming those around them. Whatever your natural style, you’ll achieve more if you’re able to borrow from other modes of leadership as the situation demands, writes Andrea Kay. USA Today/Gannett News Service (6/29)

Ethics and Professional Conduct

Perks are nice but engagement is better
Offering perks such as free meals and long vacations can lift staff morale, but it’s much more important to make sure your employees feel engaged with their jobs, according to research by Gallup. “If you’re engaged, you know what’s expected of you at work, you feel connected to people you work with and you want to be there,” Gallup’s Jim Harter said. “You feel a part of something significant, so you’re more likely to want to be part of a solution, to be part of a bigger tribe.” Gallup Business Journal (7/2)

Take the Survey to Win!

The Foundation for Community Association Research is launching the 2017 Community Manager Compensation and Benefits Survey and you’re invited to participate!

Conducted by independent research firm Industry Insights, Inc., this survey for managers and management company CEOs and executives is a valuable tool for benchmarking compensation levels in the community association industry.

Check your inbox for an email from Shawn Six (research@industryinsights.com), the CEO of Industry Insights, Inc., with your own unique link to the survey. If you don’t see the email in your inbox, check your spam folder or sign up here to complete the survey.

All participants will receive a personalized report comparing your responses to aggregate data from all respondents. You’ll also be entered into a drawing to win one of five Amazon Echo Dots!

salary survey pic

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Foundation’s Executive Director, Dave Jennings. His information is below.

Dave Jennings, CAE, SPHR, SHRM-SCP Executive Director Foundation for Community Association Research Falls Church, VA (703) 970-9234 foundation@caionline.org www.cairf.org

Thank you for your willingness to participate!