Effective communication on a condominium board is critical to its success. Sign up to download our easy-to-follow infographic to learn about the types of personalities you may encounter on your condominium board.

A condominium board’s greatest strength is the diversity of its members. That being said, sometimes it is this collection of personalities that can result in challenges to the smooth functioning of the group.
Differences of opinion, if not carefully managed, can result in arguments ─ and that is never productive. There are guidelines you can put into practice to steer the board toward an environment that is respectful and gets the job done. 
  1. Check your emotions at the door.
Often the people that step up to volunteer on a condo board are those that are passionate about the community. That is a positive trait. But board members must keep in mind that their meetings are business meetings. And business meetings are not places in which to display emotion. It is important to focus on an environment that is as professional as possible. Board members should present motions which should be seconded by another. Rather than a long dissertation on a specific topic, members of the board should provide constructive input. Conducting meetings in a business-minded forum will help keep emotions under control, and a more productive exchanges of ideas and interactions will result. A property manager can help guide those of your board members who may be unfamiliar with the recognized procedural fundamentals of meetings.
  1. Stick to time limits. 
Nobody wants to endure a three-hour meeting. Even the most dedicated board member wants to accomplish the tasks within a reasonable time-frame. Often the quality of the decisions made diminishes the longer a meeting goes on. Meetings should be concluded in less than two hours. If they can be kept to one hour, that’s even better. To keep meetings moving forward as they should it is important to assign a time limit to each agenda item. You may not always achieve your planned time goal, but having a limit set for each agenda topic will greatly improve the flow of the meeting and help prevent meeting fatigue – and the frustration that accompanies it. 
  1. Respect is mandatory. 
Sometimes people have to let their frustrations out. It’s not unreasonable behavior, but rather human. However a board meeting isn’t the appropriate venue to vent. It is important that fellow board members are empowered to keep each another accountable if someone gets carried away on a tangent. Speaking up is an effective way stop unacceptable behavior quickly. Always remember that respect is the expectation and convey this clearly. The offending board member should be thanked for his or her passion on the topic, but advised that a board meeting may not be the proper place to express this. 
  1. Adhere to a code of conduct.
All board members should be familiar with, and abide by, a code of conduct. Everyone must clearly understand the rules of acceptable behaviour during a meeting. A lack of courtesy and disrespectful attitudes should not be tolerated anywhere, but it is especially important to forbid it in a board situation. The board meeting is a business setting. All members should consider their time meeting to be with the board to be the same as if they were in a meeting with their colleagues at their place of employment. If your board doesn’t currently have a code of conduct in place, a professional property management company can help you create one. 
  1. Be a good listener.
When people feel they are being heard it brings them together. All board members should actively listen to each other – and to the residents of the community as well. Listen actively, and respond with a summary that affirms what you heard from the person. You may not always agree, but listening to what others have to say is compulsory. 
It is essential that your board operate as a unified body despite the different personalities involved. Use these five easy tips to help your board members function professionally, efficiently and with a positive dynamic. For more insight into how condominium boards operate effectively, contact FirstService Residential.
Wednesday December 14, 2016