Five Traits that Make You a Perfect Fit for Your Strata Council

Posted on Wednesday June 25, 2014

So you love life in your Strata, right? You enjoy your home. You make the most of the amenities and common areas. And for the most part, you like your neighbors. Why not get involved with your Strata Council?
Before you do, it’s important to make sure Council membership is the right fit for you. As part of the Strata Council, you will be part of a decision-making body that impacts people in the most personal way: in the very way they live. There’s nothing more important than home, so as a Strata Council Member, you’ll have a serious responsibility to operate as the steward of one of your Residents’ biggest investment.
It’s a big job, but it’s a rewarding job, too. Leading your Strata in positive directions and enabling you and your neighbors to enhance your quality of life is a great opportunity. But like any role in an organization, it has to be a good fit with the person filling it. Here are five traits of the ideal Strata Council Member – if they describe you, then you’re ready to join!
1. You effectively manage your time.
Strata Council membership is a little bit like a job. So if you already have one of those, be sure you have time for a second part-time responsibility. Your role on the Council will go beyond attending meetings. If you’re the President or Vice President, you’ll 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, be prepared to commit time to reviewing statements, approving payments and managing the annual budget. And if you are selected to serve as Secretary, you’ll be fulfilling important record-keeping functions, such as reviewing the minutes for every meeting and keeping track of the Council’s important documents. No matter what your role, though, you’ll want to make sure you have the time to fulfill it to the best of your ability. Teaming up with the right strata management company will help, too – these professionals will support you in your responsibilities and do some of the heavy lifting along with you.
2. You can put the community’s interests before your own.
Are you the type of person who is good at putting other peoples’ needs first? Then you might be excellent Strata Council material. Your Council needs people who recognize the value of the common good over individual benefit. As a Council Member, you may find yourself in situations where you must vote for actions that, while not personally beneficial to you, are good for the Strata as a whole. Separating your personal goals from those of the strata is essential to the role.

3. You like to read – and learn.
For many Strata Residents, sitting down with a copy of the bylaws, rules and regulations isn’t their idea of a page-turning reading experience. Yet as a Council Member, you’ll need to be well versed in them. That means more than just giving them a cursory read – you’ll need to comprehend the documents so you can weigh in on conflicts and interpretations. Understandably, this can feel a little bit like a 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’re 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.
Will you be able to fairly decide on enforcing fines even against Owners you may have a relationship with? Will you be able to defend a special levy to an angry neighbor? Can you weather the unhappiness of a Resident because you’ve opted to close the pool for maintenance? While your Strata Manager is the primary point of contact with whom Residents may address these concerns, Council Members must still be ready to face these situations. Nobody likes dealing with unhappy people, but for those who realize that doing what makes everyone happy and doing what’s right for a community are two separate things can find fulfillment in Council membership.

5. You’re comfortable with conflict.
Part of your responsibility will involve navigating conflict. Your job can include approving enforcing the bylaws and rules, choosing which aspects of the Strata to fund , hiring and reviewing performance evaluations of Strata employees, approving 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 the resolution of an issue – and how it can be managed in a beneficial way – then you’re ready to serve on your Strata Council.
As you can see, serving on your Strata Council is a great responsibility. It also comes with great rewards – a sense of pride in proper stewardship, the gratitude of friends and neighbors, and 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 larger 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.

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