Remember, you're running a business: Create boundaries, make better decisions, and remain professional by putting personal feelings aside with these 7 tips.
The board of directors of an HOA regularly faces challenges with no simple answers — disputes with or between homeowners, legal issues, financial stresses, and many more. It's too easy for the needs and desires of individuals to get in the way of decision-making for the entire community.
To keep operations running efficiently, board members must be able to separate their own personal interests from what's best for the association as a whole. Otherwise, emotions will make these matters more complicated and impossible to solve.
Here are seven ways board members can adopt a more professional mindset and leave their emotions at the door.
1. Run the association like a business
A major challenge for boards is that they're also homeowners within the community they're governing. This can cause emotions to come to the forefront of negotiations and decision-making, meaning board members are governing with their own personal interests in mind. It's no secret that HOA disputes regularly bring out these issues.
Leadership needs to remember that running the association should be like running a business. Decisions are based on what is best for the association financially, legally, and logistically, and not personal interests, friendships, or emotions.
Remember that an HOA is a corporation for tax purposes, and so the entity should be run as though it's a business.
2. Keep community interests first
Every decision and action taken by the board of directors should be in support of the community's best interests.
It's easy for a board member to want to join the leadership team because of a personal agenda. However, this agenda must be put aside to focus more on what's best for the association, whether that means raising membership dues to fund a repair project or making a hard decision about ending a vendor relationship because of poor services or high cost.
3. Revisit the association's mission
When the board is undecided or in disagreement on an issue, they should revisit the mission and vision of the organization. Community goals should always be in alignment with the mission, and ensuring this will help the board make a final decision in a hard situation.
4. Keep communications professional
Even if board members are friendly with other homeowners in social settings, official communications must always be professional since they are a reflection of HOA management.
Keeping things on the surface and strictly about business will ensure that individuals' emotions and feelings aren't getting in the way of protocol. This also sets boundaries with homeowners and lets them know that they also need to act professionally. Residents will respect the board more if it's clear they're serious about running the business.
5. Take a step back
When emotions influence a board member's opinion about an issue, it's important to take a step back. A break will give everyone time to reflect on their motivation for their stance, and they'll be able to think about whether that choice is what's best for business.
Revisiting an issue after time away is an effective way to consider all sides of the problem with fresh eyes.
6. Consider all perspectives
The board of directors is made up of multiple homeowners for a reason. Each decision should be discussed so new perspectives can be heard, considered, and analyzed. There are no bad ideas when brainstorming, and every voice should be given a chance.
It may also benefit the board to send surveys and questionnaires to all homeowners to get their input on issues. This helps them learn what residents really think and what they consider most important for their community.
7. Make decisions based on data and research
Take the emotions out of decisions by using facts. Associations must have methods in place to collect and analyze data, just as a business would use data to make decisions for the future. This data could be cash flow numbers, resident information, engagement metrics, marketing data, and more. Using data to back arguments is a great way for board members to figure out the right way forward as a team.
Boards should also be researching the latest technologies, trends, and laws that are impacting HOAs and be fully aware of new ways to improve the community.
When your HOA needs legal consult about a dispute, contact the team at PeytonBolin for a free phone consultation. Our experienced team of lawyers assists boards and community managers with a range of common HOA issues. Establishing legal representation now is a good idea so you have the help you need when challenges arise in the future.