Want to learn how to go from association volunteer to community leader? Complete the form at the bottom of this page to get a free guide, 5 Ways to Go From Volunteer to Community Leader.
It turns out that there’s a difference between being a volunteer board member and a community leader. You may have inherent leadership qualities, but becoming an effective leader in your community takes time and effort. Still, the results of being a community leader can be incredibly significant and bring about positive change in your association. But how do you get there after the initial step of volunteering and being elected to your association? To learn more, read the five steps below and complete the form on this page to download a free guide, 5 Ways to Go From Volunteer to Community Leader.
While it may seem like a major responsibility, there are many benefits to being a community leader. Having a leadership role makes a difference in how you fulfill your duties and even how you’re perceived by residents and other board members. That difference can make a major impact on your overall community and what you and your board are able to accomplish.
The question is, how do you transition from volunteer to community leader? Get on the fast track to HOA leadership success with these five tactics:
Ready to lead?
Take a self-assessment
The old adage of “Know thyself” certainly applies to being a leader in your homeowners association. The truth is, if you have a deeper understanding of yourself and your personality, you’ll be able to communicate better and be more effective in your role on the board. How do you increase that knowledge and self-awareness? Start with a personality or communication assessment. The best California HOA management companies will point you in the direction of training courses and resources that will help you understand yourself and your personality better. For instance, DiSC training, will provide an assessment to help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses.
Follow the path to leadership
You may want to jump into the role of a community leader right away, but the pathway to leadership can be traced in a series of steps. Make sure that you are taking on the following roles first:
1. Volunteer The first step in your journey to leadership is one that you’ve probably already taken: becoming a volunteer and getting elected to your association board. You have the right to be in this position, and members will align with you because of that position. To take it to the next level, it’s important that you first overcome any personal conflicts or hidden agendas.
2. Volunteer Leader To succeed as a volunteer leader, you need to lead in an approachable, relatable way. Members will align with you because they want to, as a result of that relatability you manifest. Of course, the evolution to community leader doesn’t end here. To move on to the next step, you’ll need to prioritize leadership training to become a more effective, results-driven leader.
3. Leader At the end of the day, a leader will ultimately achieve results. Therefore, to achieve this step in the path to community leadership, you’ll need to partner with your community association management company to accomplish tasks. After you achieve results, other members will naturally align with you because of all the contributions you’ve made to the community.
4. Community Leader If you’ve set out on this path, your end goal is to become a community leader. If you’ve reached this position, members will align with you because of who you are fundamentally, not because of what you’ve done or because you hold a certain title. That’s why becoming a community leader requires more than just a desire to lead. You’ll need to put the best interest of your community first and take on your role with a sense of responsibility and humility.
Learn about leadership
Once you’ve set out on the path to community leadership, it’s important to learn as much as you can about leadership so you can succeed in your role. All leadership training is relevant for association leaders, so you should begin by reading (or rereading) some helpful books on emotional intelligence and leadership. Maurice Talley, corporate trainer at FirstService Residential, recommends The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves and StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. The best HOA property management companies will help guide you to other helpful resources and tools, including in-house training and courses offered by the Community Associations Institute (CAI), such as its Board Leadership Development Workshop. While all leadership training is relevant, understanding how it specifically relates to HOAs is vital.
Know your community
Great leaders have a deeper understanding of their community, residents and other board members. This step involves building relationships and listening to the desires and needs of both your fellow board and residents. Of course, having this kind of relationship with your community requires an HOA management company that will do the heavy lifting for you. The best management companies will take care of day-to-day operations (like managing vendor relationships, enforcing policy and ensuring timely financials), so that you can devote your time to setting policy and listening to the community at large. This will allow you to make effective changes and will position you and your association for success.
Develop a solid mission statement
Does your board have a mission? Creating a mission statement with your board is a critical step on the pathway to leadership. It reinforces your role as a leader and most importantly sets up your association for success. As a community leader, you play a key role in shaping the vision of your HOA, which is why you need to be in tune with your community and the needs and desires of residents. The best community management companies can provide your board with the recommendations, tools and resources needed to develop a solid mission statement and a strategic plan for the community, with the aim of enhancing resident life and property values
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