You love life in your strata, you enjoy the neighbours around you, and you have amenities and common areas you use. Why not ask yourself the question of: should I get involved with my strata council? 
Before you do, it is crucial to make sure that being part of a council is the right fit for you. Having this responsibility, you will take part in a decision-making body that impacts people in the most personal way - the way they live. Thus, as a council member, you have to be willing to operate as the steward of your and your residents' most significant investments. 
While it is a job filled with responsibility, it comes with its rewards. Leading a council in a positive direction that point you and your neighbours to enhance your quality of life is a great opportunity. However, as mentioned, there must be a good fit. How do you know if you are a good fit? Here we have listed five traits of the ideal council member. If you think they describe you, you may be ready to take the next step!

1. You effectively manage your time.

Strata council membership feels like having a second job sometimes. So if you already have one of those, be sure you have enough time for a dual part-time responsibility and that you will not be scrambling to get to your council meetings. Your role on the council will sometimes go beyond attending meetings. Suppose you are the President or Vice President. In that case, you will spend time outside of the meetings setting agendas, conferring with residents, working with vendors and liaising with your strata management company. If you are the Treasurer, you will have to commit to reviewing statements ensuring they are accurate, approving payments and managing the annual budget. And if you are selected to serve as Secretary, you will be fulfilling essential record-keeping functions, such as taking meeting minutes and keeping track of the council's documents. No matter what your role is, though, you will want to make sure you have the time to fulfill it to the best of your ability. Having the support of the right strata management company will help, too – these professionals will support you in your responsibilities and do some of the heavy liftings along with you.

2. You can put the community's interests before your own.

In other words, you are quite a selfless person. You put the needs of others before yours and are good at knowing what is right for others. If you fulfill this quality, then you might be excellent council material. Your council needs people who recognize the value of the common good over individual benefit. In doing so, you may find yourself in voting situations that may not be personally beneficial to you but is good for the strata. An essential part of this role is putting your personal goals and the strata goals apart. 

3. You like to read – and learn.

For many people, sitting down with a massive book of bylaws, rules and regulations and reading each one is not an idea of a fun night. But as a council member, you will need to be knowledgeable of the rules. This does not just mean knowing the basics and giving them a cursory read. You will need to dig further and comprehend the documents to present educated opinions during meetings and when making your bylaws. This can feel like an absolute chore, yet a deep understanding of what underpins life in your strata will enable you to make the decisions that create a better way of life for everyone. And if you are partnered with a professional strata management company, they can help you make sense of the documents and deepen your understanding.

4. You can make hard decisions.

Can you decide fairly on enforcing fines even against owners you may have a good, friendly relationship with? Will you be able to defend a special levy to an angry neighbour? Can you remove the anger from a resident because you have opted to close the pool for maintenance? While your strata manager is the main point of contact with whom residents can address these issues, council members must still face any of these situations. Nobody likes dealing with unhappy people, especially if it is more than one person. Still, those who realize that doing what makes everyone happy and doing what is right for a community are two separate things that can find fulfillment in council membership.

5. You are very comfortable with conflict.

Part of your responsibility will involve navigating conflict and quite a bit of it. Your job can include approving enforcing the bylaws and rules, choosing which aspects of the strata to fund, hiring and reviewing strata employees' performance evaluations, supporting the work done by contractors, and much more. As you can tell, any one of these scenarios has the potential for conflict. The best strata management company will be your buffer in these cases, and they are experienced in leveraging conflict for positive outcomes. Overall, if you recognize the role of conflict in resolving an issue – and how it can be managed beneficially, you are ready to serve on your strata council.
As you can see, serving on your strata council is a great responsibility. Yet, it will be one of the most rewarding things you can do when all is said and done. It will instill a sense of pride, present the gratitude of friends and neighbours, and produce the feeling of being galvanized by a greater purpose. A good strata management company can help you navigate your role as a council member and support you in its essential activities and functions. This will save you time and frustration, and enable you, as a council member, to focus on the broader vision of bettering your strata as a whole.
For more information on what the right Strata management company can do for you, contact FirstService Residential, North America's leading property management company.
Sunday October 04, 2020