Bringing Out the Best in Challenging Condo Board Members

Condo boards have many people from different walks of life serving on it, which can be a considerable advantage of providing a healthy range of approaches and viewpoints. 
 
Occasionally though, you will have the odd board member who seems to thrive on conflict and make the board miserable. You probably already know the type: no matter what the topic may be, these members seem to argue incessantly to dominate the argument. 
 
What is there to do when dealing with someone like this who continually disrupts your meeting? Here are eight ways you can use the negativity at bay and possibly even turn it around. 
 

1. Show consideration.

You know that old saying, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"? There is quite a bit of truth in that when applying it to these situations. You can help to shift everyone's attitude, including a problematic member, by making a point of being considerate of other condo board members' thoughts and feelings. This approach will go even farther than if you express disdain.
 

2. Remain positive.

This is easier said than done, but avoid stooping to another person's level of negativity. If they go low, you continue to go high. You will encourage other condo board members to take the high road against this opposing board member by staying positive yourself. 
 

3. Avoid judgment.

We can all get judgmental on occasion, even if we do not mean to. It is essential to keep those feelings in check at board meetings. Be honest: Do you have a preconceived notion about any of the other board members? If so, this can immediately bias you against their ideas and affect how you treat them. Be willing to listen to everyone's opinions — even those offered by people you find challenging. 
 

4. Don't be a know-it-all.

Perhaps you were elected to the board because of your specialized knowledge or experience. While that is great, you cannot be the only one voicing an opinion during a meeting. It is important to give others the chance to speak. On the flip side, if you have individual members who always think they know everything, make sure they do not dominate the overall conversation. 
 

5. Create boundaries.

It is crucial to have ground rules on what constitutes proper behaviour at meetings. All members need to know what is expected of them and be held accountable if they cross the line. At the same time, individual board members can define their boundaries regarding how they are treated. Honor their limitations as well.
 

6. Do not be afraid to say "no'.

Don't be shy about saying "no" If a challenging board member tries to take over. Let the rest of the board members know that they have a right to say "no," especially if someone tries to offload their responsibilities. People can feel bad when doing so, but sometimes it is necessary to offset a power dynamic. 
 

7. Express appreciation.

Recognizing a member's contributions at a meeting creates a lively atmosphere and encourages continued hard work. Frequently, a difficult member wants to feel appreciated, which can go a long way toward improving cooperation.
 

8. Look for an interim solution. 

If you cannot agree on how to resolve an issue, decide on a temporary resolution. A single item can cause an entire meeting to come to a standstill, which is not productive. Follow the "consensus" rule. With this principle, a dissenting board member agrees to accept the majority decision for the condo's good.
 
Board members bring their personalities and outlooks to a condo board. Always respect these differences and understand that they often get the best out of the community because there is not just one train of thought. Make the most of these differences by following our suggestions. For further resources on maximizing the unique dynamics of your condo board, contact FirstService Residential, Alberta's leading condominium management company.

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