How To Build A Successful Relationship With Your Board Members

by / Friday, 26 September 2014 / Published in Articles

I hear it all the time in the Association Management business: “This board member is insane!  I can’t work with him!” It isn’t always easy, but in order to build and maintain a successful community, it’s important for managers and board members to work well together. The problem is common, but there are some simple solutions. Here’s 4 helpful hints

  1. As a manager, make sure you are clear on the expectations your board of directors have set for you.  Make a list of job duties that you intend to fulfill giving specific dates of completion for each duty.  Add a section that lays out a clear plan of how you will complete each task.  At the end of the month, produce a manager’s report which shows the board of directors you have fulfilled each line item on the list.  It might seem a bit excessive, but this attention to detail, will exceed the expectations of the board, therefore producing trust which is invaluable in a board member-manager relationship.
  2. Communication is key!  If a manager does not clearly understand the board’s vision, how can they produce a plan to execute it?  Sure, you will have disputes; every personality is different! What makes matters worse is when you add 7 or 9 board members to the mix!  We all know that making a decision becomes extremely more difficult when more people are involved!  But professionalism must be exampled by the manager at all times, regardless of the dispute, the personality or the amount of board members involved.  Keep repeating the bottom line: Everyone has the same goal; to maintain a successful community.  In fact, most people just want to be heard.  Once every opinion is heard and validated, then a compromise can usually be reached.  When you shut down effective communication, you’re looking for trouble!
  3. Remember your place. As a seasoned manager, you may have all the knowledge, experience and expertise of a Lawyer, CPA, and Engineer!  But you’re not! So, leave the professional advice to the professionals! The board is responsible for the overall vision of the community they serve. You work for them.  By all means, give them the professional management advice that they hired you for, but beyond that, direct them to the professional that can serve them best, and let the board make that final decision.  Of course, in your meeting notes, make sure you record your recommendations to the board, so that if later they realize they’ve made a mistake, they can’t blame you for it!
  4. Listening is a must in management! Never completely dismiss what a board member has to say.  Attitude and customer service is everything in this business!  There’s nothing worse than dismissing that influential board member. You may have just sealed your termination papers! I can’t tell you how many Associations come to me for new management, just because their current manager didn’t listen to them!  Bring your notepad to every meeting and write down what your board members say! Even if it seems meaningless, and never amounts to anything,  they will remember that gesture as a sign of acknowledgement and respect.

 

Once the realization sets in that both manager and board member are in a relationship that requires some flexibility, progress can begin.  So when you’re dealing with that difficult board member, try these helpful hints.  You’ll be surprised of the positive results!

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