While you may have natural leadership skills, there are some important steps that need to take place so that you can become a truly effective community leader. First, make sure that you take on the following roles:
1. Be a volunteer Becoming a volunteer and getting elected to your association board is the first “mile marker” on the path to leadership. Ultimately, members will align with you because you have the right to be there based on their vote. To take it one step further, you need to overcome any personal conflicts or hidden agendas you may have had when you joined.
2. Excel as a volunteer leader To truly excel as a volunteer leader, you need to focus on leading in an approachable, relatable way. Instead of just aligning with you because they “have to,” members will align with you because they want to because they see you as approachable. So how do you reach the next step? Start by prioritize leadership training to become a more effective, results-driven leader.
3. Become a results-driven leader A leader who achieves results in their homeowners association will be respected and consequently, will be perceived as a leader. To become a results-oriented leader, you’ll need to partner with your management company. They will take care of the day-to-day tasks and provide recommendations and support in order to achieve results. And in turn, members will align with you because of what you’ve done for the community.
4. Establish your role as a community leader The path to association leadership ends with the role of community leader. When you’ve reached this position, members will align with you because of who you are, not necessarily because of your accomplishments or your title. Becoming a community leader requires more than just a desire to lead; it requires humility and commitment to the best interests of your community.
One of the most effective ways you can build leadership skills and become a trusted and talented community leader is by educating yourself. Maurice Talley, corporate trainer at FirstService Residential, recommends reading a variety of books on leadership and emotional IQ. Talley suggests starting with The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, Emotional Intelligence 2.0by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves and StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. The best HOA management companies will guide you to many helpful resources and tools, such as in-house courses and training offered by the Community Associations Institute (CAI), such as its Board Leadership Development Workshop. No matter what kind of leadership training you take, it’s important to understand how it relates to your role on an HOA board.
Exceptional community leaders have a strong connection with their community, residents and fellow board members. To get there, you need to develop relationships with your community and listen to your fellow board members and residents. Your management company should care of all day-to-day tasks like managing vendor relationships, serving residents, enforcing policy and delivering timely financials, so that you can be solely committed to setting policy and staying in tune with the community at large. This will allow you to be more effective in your role on the board and will position your HOA for success.
Whether you’re a board member of an association in Phoenix, Scottsdale or Tucson, creating a mission statement is an essential (and often overlooked) step on the path to leadership. A mission statement not only reinforces your role as a community leader, but sets your community up for success by outlining your shared goals. The best HOA management companies will provide you with the insights, resources and tools needed to develop a solid mission statement, with the goal of establishing a strategic community plan, which can have a significant and positive impact on resident life and property values. Learn more in our article, “The Strategic Community Plan – A Road Map for the Future.”