Learn to recognize a management “dream team.”
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Blonde female community association manager holding team meetingAs a board member, you want your community or building to run smoothly and stay financially healthy. That’s why most boards turn to a community association manager. Naturally, you expect your manager and the rest of your management team to provide quality service, but if they don’t have what they need – and what it takes – how can they give your community what it deserves? Find out if they are qualified to provide exceptional service by asking these 3 questions.

Does Your Community Association Manager Have the Right Support?

Even the best community association managers can’t know or do everything! The right support is critical for a manager to succeed in delivering the exceptional service your board and residents expect and deserve. According to Heather Peters, business development director at FirstService Residential, “Good managers are only as effective as the support they have.” That support should include:
  • Assistance from accounting, purchasing, vendor relations and financial services specialists
  • Involvement of human resources professionals for all personnel matters and to ensure that you get the right level of on-site staffing
  • Ongoing training to develop and improve management skills, keep up with industry standards and stay up to date about regulatory changes
  • A 24/7 customer care center that can quickly provide them and your community with needed information
  • Administrative support
  • Technology and communication tools
In addition, an experienced regional director with a pulse on the community provides important support. “The most capable managers leverage their regional directors,” explains Anthony Gragnano, vice president at FirstService Residential. “When a board member calls, the regional director already knows what’s going on in their community. Having that structure in place also helps maintain institutional knowledge and consistency in management if the manager leaves for any reason. The regional director should know the community or building well enough to help replace a manager with the right person.”

Does Your Community Association Manager Have the Right Personality?

Having a manager who is hospitality minded will also benefit your community. Hospitality-minded managers tend to care more deeply and are motivated to go above and beyond for the residents in your community. Managers with this trait take a personal interest in the appearance of your property and thrive on providing great service. 
Great managers have a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ), too, meaning they have an ability to read and assist people – including members of your association. Their empathy enables them to put themselves in others’ shoes and understand their perspective. Other traits of managers with high EQ is that they are forward-thinking, adaptive, resourceful, hospitality-minded, flexible, self-motivated and able to communicate clearly. As a result, they are trusted advisors to your board.
Emotional intelligence should extend to a  regional director as well. The regional director is the person who needs to match up the right manager to each community or building. This requires understanding the personality of the property and its board and choosing the manager whose personality meshes with it. Even the most stellar manager won’t succeed if they aren’t the right fit for the community or building.

Do Your Residents Know What to Expect From Your Community Association Manager?

Residents’ awareness and understanding of the role of a manager can affect how they perceive their manager. The most incredible manager won’t be seen as capable if residents have expectations that are outside a manager’s responsibility.
The board takes the lead on creating policies based on their vision for the community, while the management team executes those policies. However, a lot of residents mistakenly believe that the manager sets policy for the community. Therefore, when they are unhappy with a policy or rule, they respond by voicing dissatisfaction with the manager.

Sometimes residents don’t understand what they are responsible for in the community. Does the community pressure wash their front walkway, or is that the residents’ responsibility? Is management responsible for helping with storm preparation? Who cleans and maintains balconies on high-rises? New residents need to be walked through the roles and responsibilities of everyone in the community so they have the right expectations of their management team. It doesn’t hurt to remind long-term residents of those responsibilities from time to time either!
Great management and exceptional service are essential to the harmony and success of your community or building. To ensure that you get what you expect, you need a manager with the right support and the right personality. And, of course, you need to set the right expectations with residents about the role of management in your community.
Ask the Experts Video: Roles & Responsibilities

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Becoming an association board member can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Watch our video to learn more about the role you’re stepping into.


Wednesday January 08, 2020