Why Leaders Need to Confront Their Fear of Feedback

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The feedback you give the people you lead doesn’t always have to be positive, but it does need to be present. Think of it as an opportunity to tell your association’s story.

Executives often struggle when it comes to delivering feedback to employees, but in some ways it isn’t much different than what you’re doing in other areas of the organization. That is, you’re telling stories. You’re engaging in storytelling when you deliver a report to the board on the progress of a new initiative. You’re storytelling when you connect with members to explain the value of their joining your association.

And you do that because you implicitly understand that if you’re not the one telling the story, they’re going to make up their own. So imagine what your employees might be conjuring up in their head when they’re not hearing much from you or their managers. Often the story isn’t good.

If you hold a growth mindset for yourself, you’ll be more comfortable giving feedback.

In an article on employee feedback in the Harvard Business Review, executive coach Deborah Grayson Riegel explains that employees tend to take three negative messages from a lack of feedback. One is that no news is good news, which doesn’t press employees to improve or increase their engagement. Another is an assumption that the boss thinks they can’t handle feedback, which leaves employees feeling unsupported and makes your workplace look like it avoids accountability. Lastly, employees might assume you think they’re incapable of change—and you’ll be proven right on that if you don’t deliver feedback.

Lack of communication on leaders’ part has some proven consequences: A 2015 SHRM poll found that 64 percent of workers say that “leaders making decisions without seeking input” was their top concern. Similarly, a 2015 Gallup poll found that 67 percent of employees are engaged when their managers give feedback on their strengths.

And ultimately, supporting employees’ strengths is part of your job. Leaders, Riegel writes, are compelled to cultivate a “growth mindset” among employees. So if you’re hesitant to deliver feedback—or to do it consistently—Riegel suggests that a look in the mirror may be in order.

“If you hold a growth mindset for your employee, you will give more feedback because you believe she will welcome—and rise to—the challenge,” she writes. “And if you hold a growth mindset for yourself, you’ll be more comfortable giving feedback because you trust that you will welcome the challenge.”

How you deliver that feedback is up to you, and it may differ from employee to employee, of course: “You can’t please everyone, but managers can make a conscious effort to understand their employee’s communication style to help set them up for success,” Jennifer Dowd of the workforce technology firm Kronos recently wrote in Governing. But there’s plenty of evidence that it needs to be more iterative than the old-fashioned annual performance review.

In the latest “Career Coach” column in Associations Now, executive coach Maureen Glass, CAE, points out that positive feedback is as essential to underperformers as anybody else in the organization. “Reiterate that feedback is part of the growth and development of every employee and that you want him to succeed,” she advises. “Let him know that if he commits to performing better, you’ll commit to helping him meet his goals.”

I’d argue that such actions have a way of radiating outward—that it can improve your capacity to work with employees across the organization. And though private communications with an underperformer aren’t everybody’s business, employees are rarely confused about who those underperformers are, and they tell stories about how you handle them too. Are you a person who’s invested in improvement, or just a take-’em-to-the-woodshed type?

“Giving feedback that helps people achieve better business results is part of a manager’s job,” Riegel writes. “It’s also her job to create a climate of psychological safety—which is the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake—for a direct report to receive feedback well.” That may not be an easy thing to do at first, but it’s one of those skills that gets easier, and more important, the more you do it.

What’s your process for delivering feedback to employees? Share your experiences in the comments.

By for Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives.

3 Reasons Why Wearing My Vulnerability On My Sleeve Made Me a Better Leader

As a leader, vulnerability is the path to courage, joy, and creativity.

Few people would think an executive officer of a thriving Inc 5000 business would have shame issues. However, growing up as a New York latchkey kid with a broken family and being homeless for parts of my early life introduced me to shame at a young age. I had a father in and out of prison, both parents struggling with addiction, and before finishing elementary school I had been to 14 different schools in nearly as many cities.

As a kid I didn’t know how to admit, address, or handle the big impact shame was making on my life and I carried that suppression with me into adulthood. It wasn’t until recently when I met motivational speaker and shame researcher Brené Brown that I was able to understand how my experience dealing with shame and learning to be vulnerable could make me a better leader.

If you haven’t heard of Brown, she is the author of six bestselling books on vulnerability and shame, has three degrees in sociology, and one of the most popular TED talks with almost 50 million views combined between TED.com and YouTube. If you need a good introduction to how vulnerability can help your own leadership, you should watch her Netflix special The Call to Courage.

Vulnerability is courage.

Vulnerability is all about uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. These are three things leaders face all the time in business. In her Netflix special, Brown asks us to think about instances in life where you’ve shown courage and it hasn’t involved uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure?

I found that being open, taking chances, and moving forward when you are unsure of the outcome is being vulnerable as a leader. It’s also courage. The best leaders can use their vulnerability to give them courage by admitting to others when they are in doubt so they can get the support they need to succeed.

Vulnerability brings you joy.

Being vulnerable doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time. Brown says people fear vulnerability because it is at the center of hard emotions like shame, fear, and uncertainty. Vulnerability leaves you exposed. So to save yourself pain, you armor up.

The problem is when you armor up, you prevent things from coming into your life (or business) like love, belonging and joy. However, joy is imperative for your leadership. No one believes following someone who is miserable and afraid will bring them joy. The more I opened up at work, the more I enjoyed my work and the more the business thrived.

Vulnerability stimulates creativity.

Creativity happens when we are able to be vulnerable and get out of our comfort zone. Unfortunately, many companies provide zero protection for vulnerability. Most organizations require people to armor up because everyone is on the attack.

Brown argues when we are permitted to be vulnerable at work, this allows us the safety to trust our teammates, try out new ideas, be creative, and innovate. It allows us to break down silos and include people, have the hard conversations we need to have, and give and receive feedback so we can improve.

At my company, we strive to create a culture that supports new ideas. We have town hall meetings where anyone can speak their mind so we can address company-wide issues. As leaders, we try to be more transparent about company decisions, taking input from all employees. This has led to more communication, innovative solutions, and a thriving business.

To have the success in life you want, to be the leader people want to follow, you need to be vulnerable. Vulnerability shows your courage, allows joy to enter the workplace, and permits an environment where creativity can thrive– all the things necessary to be successful in work and in life.

How Mindfulness Can Improve the Modern Workplace

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As staff become increasingly busy and juggle numerous tasks, experts contend mindfulness is a skill that can boost workplace productivity and encourage better staff relations.

As workplace tasks and technology have increased in recent years, employees have been forced to split their attention on multiple priorities. To improve productivity and reduce conflict among staff, organizations are starting to offer mindfulness training to employees.

“The truth is, mindfulness improves everything, not just the workplace, but individual lives,” said Judith T. Krauthamer, principal of Quietspace Coaching, a coaching practice that specializes in incorporating mindfulness techniques. “Who we are gets carried into the workplace. How mindfulness and mindful meditation works in the workplace is it calms the body and the mind.”

Many well-known companies, like Google, Nike and Apple, have implemented mindfulness programs to help their workers and bring this skill to the forefront.

For those unfamiliar with the practice, Krauthamer said the simplest way to define mindfulness is “being consciously aware in the present moment of life around you.” When staff are present and focused, they can get more done. Mindfulness, Krauthamer said, also includes being “present without judgment.” She offered an example of how this skill might be used during the workday.

“Let’s say the boss or manager came into work this morning and didn’t say, ‘Hello,’” Krauthamer said. “You judge, and ask, ‘What did I do wrong?’ There’s anxiety, and you’re not focused on work. With mindfulness, you observe what happened, but you don’t create the narrative or the anxiety.”

With workplaces running at a fast pace, employees too often rush to snap judgments that create anxiety. “Most judgments—whether it’s about a project or the person you’re working with—are made-up stories; they’re not true,” she said. “With mindfulness, you don’t have the brain waves to create that story.”

Implementation Varies

Ideally, organizations would create strong mindfulness programs that are consistent and available for all employees. What Krauthamer has seen in practice is a mixed bag, with larger organizations being more intentional with mindfulness and smaller ones letting employees take the lead.

“The difficulty in establishing mindfulness programs for small organizations is it’s often on a volunteer basis,” she said. “What you will find is there will be one of two people who want to start [it], and it will spread by word of mouth. Then, the executive director finds that things at the workplace are getting better, and [the program] gets encouraged.”

In larger organizations, mindfulness is usually driven from the top down with formal, HR-run programs. “That is their project and they make sure every other Wednesday, the mindfulness meditation happens,” Krauthamer said.

A recent Harvard Business Review article noted that “team mindfulness” training, which focuses on a group of people being mindful about team objectives, was particularly effective in reducing conflict and improving work. Krauthamer noted this research is important in the association space.

“They used the word team because that’s a business word,” Krauthamer said. “When you break that down, it’s really about community. Associations are large groups of a specific community. There is value in sharing with others and talking with others. It is how we reinforce it. That really is what associations are about.”

While some people think of mindfulness as a touchy-feely fad that will soon fade, Krauthamer said this skill, while new to the workforce, is steeped in history and here to stay. “Some of these practices go back thousands of years,” she said. “It’s not going to go away. It’s like yoga—that started off in the ‘70s as obscure here in the West. But it’s a standard practice now.”

By / Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives.

These are the top reasons why people quit their jobs


That coworker of yours who just handed in his resignation and is striding towards the exit with his belongings in an old printer-paper box could be leaving the building for any number of reasons. Especially in this economic climate – a tight labor market makes people bolder, and more willing to take risks to get the job they really want. Compensation software company Payscale presented new research in a white paper about the top reasons employees leave.

The top reasons people leave their jobs

  • 25% want more pay
  • 15% are unhappy at their current organization
  • 14% want to work at an organization more aligned with their values
  • 11% are relocating
  • 10% are unhappy their current position is not full-time
  • 7% want a promotion
  • 2% want a more flexible schedule
  • 15% – other

Payscale then asked people who quit and found a new job what attracted them to that organization. The hands-down winner? Meaningful work.

  • 27% said the opportunity to do more meaningful work
  • 17% said increased responsibilities
  • 16% said increased pay for this position
  • 11% said workplace culture
  • 6% said nothing in particular, it was just a job
  • 6% said better benefits and perks
  • 5% said they wanted to work for a larger organization
  • 10% – other

People generally find a new job that offers them what the last one couldn’t

It was found that the reason people leave is along the same lines with the reason that they take a new job. For example, with those who quit because they wanted higher pay, 38% of those respondents chose a new job that paid them more.

And 46% of those who quit because they didn’t have “value alignment” at their previous job chose a new organization because they would get to do more meaningful and engaged work.

And for the group that quit because they wanted a promotion, 46% of respondents ended up with a job in a new organization that offered them more responsibilities.

For those who quit with go-getting in mind, it’s a happy ending.

By SHEILA MCCLEAR, a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.

Decoding the ABC’s of Credentials, Certificates & Designations

What do those letters behind your name mean?

By John Ganoe, CAE
Executive Director, CAMICB

Even for those deeply entrenched in the credentialing world, there’s a certain degree of confusion around some of the terminology used to describe specific paths professionals take to further their careers and skill sets. The field of community association management is no different so it’s important to educate managers, homeowners, and other community association professionals about the different options the profession has to offer and the value they hold.

According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), “credentialing” is an umbrella term used to refer to concepts such as professional certification, certificate programs, accreditation, licensure, and regulation.

ICE defines certification, licensure, assessment-based certificate, and accreditation in the following ways:

  • certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence, such as a community manager who has achieved the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®).  In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice.
  • Similarly, licensure tests an individual’s competence but is a mandatory process by which the government grants time-limited permission for that licensed individual to practice his or her profession, such as a real estate salesperson or real estate broker.
  • In contrast to certification and licensure, an assessment-based certificate program is an educational or training program that is used to teach learning objectives and assess whether those objectives were achieved by the student.
  • Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards and is awarded recognition if it is in compliance with those standards. The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) is such a program. ICE currently offers accreditation to professional certification programs through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

The CMCA credential is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) confirming it complies with NCCA’s stringent standards for a professional certification program. Accreditation validates the integrity of the CMCA program and is a mark of quality.

Specialty Designations

Community association professionals may also choose to bolster their careers and expand their level of expertise in certain areas. This is where specialty designations come into play. A “designation” is recognition of professional knowledge and expertise in a given subject matter or job skill.  To earn designations, membership is required in a professional organization and usually requires work experience.  Certain specialty designations are offered through the Community Associations Institute (CAI) including, the Association Management Specialist (AMS), Large Scale Manager (LSM), Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), Community Insurance and Risk Management Specialist (CIRMS) and Reserve Specialist (RS). This allows a community association professional to drill down into a specialized aspect of the business.  In some cases, for example the PCAM and AMS designations, passing the CMCA examination is a prerequisite to applying for these designations.

I’ve experienced a wide disparity in the background and quality of the managers with whom I’ve worked,” said Ron Perl, Esq., a Partner at Hill Wallack LLP, who leads the firm’s community association practice group.  “A manager who holds the CMCA assures me they have an important foundation in place – the ongoing education and knowledge necessary to successfully manage millions of dollars worth of other people’s property and a serious commitment to high ethical standards.”

Stephen Castle, CMCA, AMS, PCAM agrees all committed community association managers should hold the CMCA certification. “The CMCA certification demonstrates to employees and new managers a commitment to professionalism,” said Castle. “Further, CMCAs show their support for established national and international standards of knowledge and professional conduct for community association managers.”

The Certified Manager of Community Associations – The only accredited certification program in the world for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives.

The CMCA Goes Global

As CAMICB grew to be the premiere certification body in the United States for community association managers, it also gained international recognition for its established body of knowledge and strict ethical standards. Over the past two decades, the CMCA certification program crossed borders and oceans in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. This global expansion secured a high level of professionalism for association management and common interest communities worldwide. In 2017, CAMICB launched the international CMCA examination.

About ICE

The Institute for Credentialing Excellence, or ICE, is a professional membership association that provides education, networking, and other resources for organizations and individuals who work in and serve the credentialing industry.  ICE is a leading developer of standards for both certification and certificate programs and it is both a provider of and a clearing house for information on trends in certification, test development and delivery, assessment-based certificate programs, and other information relevant to the credentialing community.

6 reasons recruiters say they’ll toss your resume in the trash

These things will make your resume stand out — but in a bad way.


Most professionals nowadays know that a clear (and proofread) resume can help them move along during the job application process. But what if you think you submitted the most perfectly edited resume with loads of experience and you still don’t make the cut?

It turns out that there are plenty of smaller mistakes that make recruiters reconsider adding you to the “yes” pile. Six of them weighed in on the problems they see with resumes all the time that keep applicants from getting ahead.

1. It’s way too long

Lyssa Barber, the former head of recruitment at UBS Asset & Wealth Management, says that one of the largest issues she sees with job applicants is that they’ll submit a resume that “indulges the candidate, but [doesn’t] entice the hiring manager.”

“Even if you’re the CEO, you don’t need a five-page CV,” she notes. “I’ve received eight to 10-page efforts, and they just go straight into the reject pile. [Doing so] suggests an inability to condense information for a time-poor audience.”

Barber also says to steer clear of half-page personal statements; go for a clear, three-line objective instead.

2. It’s over-styled

Trevor Collins, a recruiter at KVH Industries, says that while he focuses on skills and experience, style issues can make it more challenging to read a resume quickly.

He says some of the biggest mistakes he sees are people who:

  • Use multiple fonts

  • Include broken hyperlinks

  • Use buzzwords or overly formal speech

  • Are too long-winded

Just because your resume doesn’t have any typos doesn’t mean that other style problems aren’t turning off a hiring manager. Skip the out-there fonts, double-check your hyperlinks and keep the language simple.

3. It doesn’t include keywords

Candidates need to make it easy for recruiters to find what they’re looking for, especially since they’re scanning hundreds of resumes every day.

“When I look at a CV I immediately look for words that relate to the role I am working on,” says Sarah Rawcliffe, a talent manager at Get My First Job. “For example, for a childcare role I would want to see a placement [at a] nursery, work experience in primary school or even babysitting for a family friend, anything that shows some kind of interest in the industry they have applied for.”

Don’t make it hard for recruiters to connect the dots as to why you’re a good fit for the role. They may give up and look elsewhere.

4. It has the wrong tone

“Some candidates are giving great thought to the editing of their resume – checking for typos, verb tenses, and verbiage – but not considering tone,” explains Laura Mazzullo, founder of East Side Staffing. “I would recommend reading the resume aloud keeping personal brand at the forefront of your consideration. ‘Does this resume reflect my values and perspective? Is this how I want to come across to potential employers?’”

5. It’s not ordered by level of relevance or impact

In keeping with the theme of making it easy for hiring managers and recruiters, make sure you put the most important or relevant information at the top of your resume and throughout each position.

“Your resume should highlight your most prized accomplishments in the first bullets and day-to-day towards the bottom,” says recruiter Taylor Carrington. “Structure the resume [from] greatest to least impactful for each position you held.”

6. It doesn’t tell a story

If a recruiter looks at your resume and can’t tell what your career “story” is and generally where you’re hoping to go, that could lead to a “no.”

“No matter the level of the candidate, [from] someone just out of college or a very senior executive, it’s okay if someone works in various industries and jumps around a bit and gains different experiences,” says Eva Freidan, a product leadership recruiter at Facebook. “But at the end of the day, what is the common thread throughout this person’s career?”

Freidan recommends taking some time to write a paragraph or two explaining your overall career arc. If it’s not clear to you, it certainly won’t be clear to a recruiter who’s scanning your resume quickly.

When it comes to resume writing, the most important thing is to think about what’ll make the hiring manager want to move your resume into the “yes” pile. They’re rooting for you (their jobs depend on it), so the easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to move you to the next round.

LILY HERMAN|is a New York-based writer, editor, and social media manager whose recent bylines include Fast Company, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek, ELLE, Teen Vogue, and TIME

11 signs you’re in a rut (and how to get unstuck)

Everyone daydreams now and then. But if you’re always wishing you were somewhere else, you may be in a rut. People don’t know how to climb out of it.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Not everyone who’s in a rut realizes they’re in one. They just sense something isn’t right. And many people who know they’re in a rut don’t know how to climb out of it. Regardless of which situation someone finds themselves in, it’s important they make changes to ensure their long-term health and happiness at home, at work, and in life overall. We’ll look at signs you could be in a rut and offer suggestions for getting out and getting back in the groove.

1. You dream about getting away—and not just on vacation

Everyone daydreams now and then. But if you’re always wishing you were somewhere else, you may be in a rut. The surprise and novelty of doing something spontaneous fills our brains with the motivation neurotransmitter, dopamine, which makes us feel excited, curious and adventurous. Spontaneity also gives us a feeling of autonomy, and that sense of control can boost motivation, too.

2. You don’t look forward to much, other than sleeping or getting through whatever you’re doing

If you regularly feel like you don’t have anything to look forward to, start to look for beauty in what lies around you. Instead of waiting for something monumental to happen, keep an eye out for the little things that life has to offer. These can make a big difference.

3. No matter how hard you try, it feels like you’re going nowhere

It’s not uncommon to feel stuck in the hamster wheel, especially at work. Our brains are wired to resist change, preferring to fall back on old habits. But visualizing our goals and choosing new strategies to achieve them creates new neural pathways in our brains. The more we use them, the stronger the pathways become and the more we can get beyond what’s familiar, safe and often stifling.

4. You look at other people’s lives with envy

In the age of social media and curated photo collections, it’s easy to compare your life to others’. But it’s important to shift your focus back to you. That could mean repeating a positive, empowering phrase about yourself, eating healthier meals or even pampering yourself just because.

5. Even though you check things off your to-do list, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting much done

If you feel little sense of accomplishment no matter how much you do, the issue may be that you’re always aiming for perfection. To combat this, silence your internal critic and be happy just getting things done. You’ll feel productive and better about not being so hard on yourself. And remember, there’s always another day or project on which to improve.

6. You want to get your creative juices flowing, but feel like you’re running on empty

You’re feeling spent and uninspired, and you can’t shake the feeling. Or can you? By setting aside an hour or two a week to devote to a passion project, you’ll be able to channel your energy into something you want to do versus something you need to do. It’s a true expression of yourself and can reignite your zest for life by giving you a refreshed or new perspective.

7. You feel bored most of the time

It’s time to take a withdrawal from your memory bank. Think of something you did in the past that got you excited, and picture yourself doing it. It can even be something from your youth. Once you pinpoint that activity, go do it. This method for getting out of your rut is called the flip technique, and it helps turn your discontentment into something that makes you feel happy again.

8. You regularly choose to stay home instead of going out with friends

It’s one thing to be a homebody, but it’s quite another to never go out. Try examining your work-life balance, which can help you determine whether at least one of these aspects of your life is vibrant. Ask yourself whether you’re engaging in the same activities over and over. See what’s on your schedule, and make sure you have new opportunities to look forward to.

9. You make excuses for not doing things, such as “I don’t have time”

When you find yourself believing you can’t do something, dig deeper to find out what’s really stopping you. Is it fear? A past experience? Lack of confidence? By looking within, you’ll become conscious of that limiting belief – the first step toward getting past it. Try journaling about daily thoughts and experiences to figure out what’s really going on.

10. You often think of yourself as a martyr, putting others’ needs first to the detriment of your own

Helping others is admirable, but constantly putting their needs ahead of your own isn’t. It’s an unhealthy pattern you need to break. Make a list of the things that make you feel like a martyr or, worse, a victim. Recognize your role in each situation, then brainstorm ways to change them. Check them off the list as you do. This way, you’re taking control of the situation rather than letting it control you.

11. You don’t see the purpose of anything you do

If “What’s the point?” dominates your inner dialogue, try getting outside more often. Research shows that exposure to our natural settings changes the brain to reduce anxiety and thwart depression. Brain activity in the areas associated with critical thinking diminishes, and nature helps turn off our physiological stress response to put us in a more restful state.

By JENNIFER GUERINGERThis article first appeared on Netcredit.


8 small things people use to judge your personality

The human brain is hardwired to judge. This survival mechanism makes it very hard to meet someone without evaluating and interpreting their behavior.

While we tend to think that our judgments are based on the content of conversations and other obvious behaviors, the research says otherwise. In fact, the majority of our judgments are focused on smaller, subtler things, such as handshakes and body language. We often form complete opinions about people based solely on these behaviors.

We are so good at judging other people’s personalities based on small things that, in a University of Kansas study, subjects accurately predicted people’s personality traits, such as extroversion/introversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness, simply by looking at pictures of the shoes they wore.

Our unconscious behaviors have a language of their own, and their words aren’t always kind. These behaviors have likely become an integral part of who you are, and if you don’t spend much time thinking about them, now is a good time to start, because they could be sabotaging your career.

How you treat waiters and receptionists

How you treat support staff is so indicative of your makeup that it has become a common interview tactic. By gauging how you interact with support staff on your way in and out of the building, interviewers get a sense for how you treat people in general. Most people act the part when they’re speaking to the hiring manager or other “important” people, but some will pull a Jekyll and Hyde act the moment they walk out the door, treating others with disdain or indifference. Business lunches are another place this comes to light. No matter how nice you are to the people you have lunch with, it’s all for naught if those people witness you behaving badly toward others.

How often you check your phone

There’s nothing more frustrating than someone pulling out their phone mid-conversation. Doing so conveys a lack of respect, attention, listening skills, and willpower. Unless it’s an emergency, it’s wise to keep your phone holstered. A study from Elon University confirms that pulling out your phone during a conversation lowers both the quality and quantity of face-to-face interactions.

Repetitive, nervous habits

Touching your nails or face or picking at your skin typically indicates that you’re nervous, overwhelmed, and not in control. Research from the University of Michigan suggests that these nervous habits are indicative of a perfectionistic personality, and that perfectionists are more likely to engage in these habits when they’re frustrated or bored.

How long you take to ask questions

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they talked about themselves the entire time? The amount of time someone allows to pass before they take an interest in you is a strong personality indicator. People who only talk about themselves tend to be loud, self-absorbed “takers.” People who only ask questions and share little about themselves are usually quiet, humble “givers.” Those who strike a nice balance of give-and-take are reciprocators and good conversationalists.

Your handshake

It’s common for people to associate a weak handshake with a lack of confidence and an overall lackadaisical attitude. A study at the University of Alabama showed that, although it isn’t safe to draw assumptions about someone’s competence based on their handshake, you can accurately identify personality traits. Specifically, the study found that a firm handshake equates with being less shy, less neurotic, and more extroverted.


Showing up late leads people to think that you lack respect and tend to procrastinate, as well as being lazy or disinterested. Contrary to these perceptions, a San Diego State University study by Jeff Conte revealed that tardiness is typically seen in people who multitask, or are high in relaxed, Type B personality traits. Conte’s study found that Type B individuals are often late because they experience time more slowly than the rest of us. Bottom line here is not to read too much into people showing up late. It’s better to ask what’s behind it than to make assumptions.


There are all manner of false stereotypes attempting to relate your handwriting to your personality. For example, people believe that how hard you press down on the paper relates to how uptight you are, the slant of your writing indicates introversion or extroversion, and the neatness/sloppiness of your writing reveals organizational tendencies. The research is inconclusive at best when it comes to handwriting and personality. If you have an important letter to write, I’d suggest sticking to the keyboard to keep things neutral.

Eye contact

The key to eye contact is balance. While it’s important to maintain eye contact, doing so 100% of the time is perceived as aggressive and creepy. At the same time, if you only maintain eye contact for a small portion of the conversation, you’ll come across as disinterested, shy, or embarrassed. Studies show that maintaining eye contact for roughly 60% of a conversation strikes the right balance and makes you come across as interested, friendly, and trustworthy.

Bringing it all together

Sometimes the little things in life make a big difference. It’s good to be ready for them, so that you can make a strong impression.

From theladders.com, May 2018. Travis Bradberry is the co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the co-founder of TalentSmart.  This column first appeared on LinkedIn.

HOAs and Clotheslines

Adapted from an article by Jon Howland published 


Summertime means the weather warms up and homeowners will put their laundry out on a clothesline to dry.  Homeowners living in HOAs, condos or other common interest communities may be violating community rules by hanging their wardrobe up outside.

Nationwide, more than a quarter million homeowner associations govern upwards of 60 million people. Alexander Lee, a champion of the “right-to-dry” movement, estimates that “more than half of them (HOAs) restrict or ban the clothesline.”

A “right-to-dry” movement has sprung up and won laws in six states––Florida, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, and Vermont—to render bans on clotheslines void and unenforceable. In another 13 states, solar access laws already on the books appear to protect solar drying.

Clotheslines appear to fit under the umbrella of states’ solar rights because systems for hang-drying rely on the sun’s radiation to evaporate water in wet laundry. Clotheslines rely on solar energy, so their use is protected where laws provide blanket allowances for use of solar.

Solar access laws in Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin all delineate a homeowner’s right to install a “solar energy system,” “solar energy device,” “solar collector,” “system for obtaining solar energy” or “solar energy collection device.” The legal terminology varies, but the letter and spirit of these laws has one overarching message: homeowners may utilize the power of the sun

Yet in all of these 19 states, illegal bans persist in community rulebooks, such as HOA Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), and a number that likely runs into the millions of residents do not know they already have a right to dry. Solar access laws, many of them from the 1970s, and obscure amendments to state property law may not be well known.

Do you know your state law? Does your community have a policy on clotheslines?

What Should I Study for the CMCA Exam?

A variety of study aids are available to CMCA exam candidates online at CAMICB.org. Because CAMICB recognizes that people have different learning styles, multiple resources are available in various formats. A quick glance at those resources can be overwhelming. Here, we offer a roadmap designed to help you select and properly use those resources towards a successful outcome.

STEP 1. CMCA Study Guide. Download this FREE guide for an overview of how the CMCA exam was developed and how it’s structured. This is important to developing a study strategy. Here, you will also find the key to your studying success: The CMCA Knowledge


8 Knowledge Areas

Areas. You will be evaluated on these 8 knowledge areas, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in each area, as well as how each knowledge area is weighted, will help you properly prepare a solid study plan.

STEP 2. CMCA Handbook. Download the FREE handbook for an overview of the program, paying particular attention to:

  • Section 2: Taking the CMCA Exam highlights the policies and procedures of the exam.
  • Section 3: CMCA Examination Content and Study Materials offers just that, as well as strategies for standardized test-taking.

STEP 3. If you took CAI’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Association Management, you are not fully prepared to sit for the CMCA exam. The M-100 will provide you with concrete knowledge (i.e., terms and definitions) but will not give you the knowledge to apply those terms and definitions to concepts. For example, What is a Quorum? is not a question you will see on the CMCA exam. You may, however, see a question like this, Quorum requirements conflicts are resolved by which of the following? That doesn’t mean you can skip this step. It’s still important to know the definitions in order to be able to apply them.

CMCAExamPrepSTEP 4. Quizlet is a FREE online tool that uses fun games and exercises to test your concrete knowledge. If after reviewing the M-100 course material, you find that your knowledge of terms and definitions is lacking, Quizlet is an excellent way to help you master those key terms and phrases, and prepare you for the next step in your study plan.

STEP 5. Best Practices Reports are FREE resource guides courtesy of the Foundation for Community Association Research. These Reports will help you gain applied knowledge in key areas found on the exam. Each report also contains case studies to help you understand how best practices are applied in real life situations, which is key to grasping an applied knowledge of these topics. If you’re a seasoned manager, spend a little extra time here. What you’ve learned on the job, may not be deemed best practices in the industry.

STEP 6. The CMCA Study Kit is available for purchase from the CAI Bookstore. A great tool for developing applied knowledge, you may purchase individual titles or the entire package depending on your needs.

STEP 7. CMCA Practice Exam is available online at a cost of $25 for one attempt and $40 for two. The Practice Exam includes questions that have been rotated off the exam and offers real time feedback on whether you were right or wrong on a question and why, offering real-world insight into the CMCA exam experience.

All of these materials to prepare you for the CMCA Exam can be found at CAMICB.org on the Exam Preparation web page. We encourage you to spend at least 6-8 weeks preparing for the Exam, and if you have any questions you can contact us at 866-779-CMCA or info@camicb.org.

We’d like to hear from managers who are studying for the exam. What’s working for you? What’s not? Please use the Comments section to let us know how you’re doing.