Board members can make or break your homeowners association. You’ve run enough meetings to see great members share a number of characteristics. Recognize these?
- They want to help the community.They don’t get on the board to work out a vendetta or serve themselves. Instead, they have the best interest of their community at heart.
- They’re fair and can see both sides.They can’t be a “do as I say, not as my friends and I do” kind of person. They have to apply the rules fairly to everyone, including themselves. They can also mediate disputes by seeing both sides of an issue.
- They can run a meeting.Not every HOA decision is a life-or-death matter, but in order to carry on, decisions must be made. Great board members can set forward an agenda, give things necessary time for discussion and help reach decisions, one by one.
- They listen. Perhaps the most important thing for board member to do is listen to the community. “If community members have taken the time to come to a meeting, chances are they have something to say,” said Kelly Moran, Vice President with Rampart Properties of Tampa, Fla. “The quickest way for a board to be overturned is to not listen to homeowners.”
- They’re honest. That means being willing to admit not knowing the solution to a problem. It also means being law-abiding, and giving honestly and freely of one’s time.
- They have foresight.“A board member can’t get caught up in the here and now,” Moran said. “They need to have foresight as to where the association is going and move the association forward. That’s what makes great communities.”
- They can do nothing.Not every argument or issue needs to be reacted to, especially if it takes the board’s focus away from bigger, or more uplifting, issues. “The two hardest things for a volunteer board of directors to do, is ‘do nothing,’ and ‘say nothing,’” said Bart Park, CEO of Capital Community Management Corporation, Cave Creek, Ariz.
- They have fun. Board members who can laugh when things are good—or bad—are well on the way to being a great board member.
Your turn: What makes a great HOA board member? What makes a bad one? Respond in the comment section.