Property Managers have to start somewhere…we could come from some other type of service industry. Maybe some come from the hotel, restaurant or the construction industry. However we get here, when we do – we meet ‘The Board’. Who is ‘The Board’? Well – you never know….they are all just volunteers that live in the community (unless it is one of those rare boards that has to be professionally hired due to lack of volunteers in the community). If you are fortunate enough to have a cohesive group of board members that were at one time former seasoned business professionals who were fair minded and understanding – you are very lucky indeed. Otherwise it could be a mixed group of people - some wonderful/ intelligent, some controlling, some maybe not so well on the emotional front (yikes!) . You could be working with a board that is not unified within their own group. As a manager you have to be professional at all times and manage what you are given. Educating new board members as to their role, could be part of the mangers responsibility, along with the management company and other professionals. Your meetings with the board depend on what was set up by the board - as far as workshops (was that ever set up, does it need to be altered?)
Just when you’ve gotten used to the board and they to you, you’ve got the rhythm going – a board term is up and there is an election. A whole new dynamic can begin if there is change. Sometimes there is no change for a long time on the board, but even so the board ‘changes’. They get used to you, you to them - they stir the pot and want change – either in what you are providing them or what they think they should be getting. They can also change the guidelines they have given you as far as homeowner rules within the community. A manager could be telling homeowners a certain protocol agreed upon by the board, then a unit owner goes to a board member - complains about the protocol and the protocol changes…which can make it hard to manage when the guidelines change.
This is a very small sampling of board issues – but the relationship with the board is the most important thing - as they, along with the management team are running a corporation. The primary goal of the Team work between Management and The Board is to protect “The Association”. “The Association” is an entity unto itself and it needs to be protected fiscally as well as legally from frivolous lawsuits. Many hours of discussion go on for a board to come up with community guidelines, budgets, legal decisions, etc. all to have a smooth running ship – so to speak…
These are just a few tidbits on a very large complex topic…people communication skills are learned though life experience and can be enhanced with educational seminars and support from your Corporate Management TEAM. Certain traits for a manager are inborn, but others need to be learned… There are good venues for support provided through local seminars etc. in professional groups such as CAI and IREM for starters… how do you get your training and ongoing support?
The foundation is important, property retention is key. Some more things to think about…see you next time…
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