How to Transform From Board Volunteer to Community Leader

Posted on Friday April 13, 2018

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.


Ready to take your role on your association board to the next level? Well, as is the case with most opportunities (just like in your full-time job or your personal life), becoming a community leader on your HOA board doesn’t happen overnight. Of course, the first step is choosing to volunteer for your Nevada homeowners’ association and getting elected to the board. But the next step is in your hands. And the benefits of being a community leader in your association are significant. Want to learn more? Read the article below and complete the form on this page to get a helpful guide, 5 Ways to Go From Volunteer to Community Leader.

The truth is, choosing to operate as a leader rather than a volunteer makes a difference in how you fulfill your duties and how you’re perceived by fellow board members and residents. And that difference can make a huge impact on what you’re able to accomplish.

“Community leaders are able to set objectives and rally support behind their cause with greater effectiveness,” said Maurice Talley, corporate trainer for FirstService Residential in Nevada. “They have the power to get more done than someone who sees themselves as merely a volunteer.”

But how do you transform from volunteer to community leader? These five tactics will have you well on your way to leadership success:
  1. Get an assessment

    How well do you know yourself? A great HOA property management company will have training courses and assessments that will help you on your path to becoming an effective community leader. For example, FirstService Residential Nevada’s Transforming Volunteerism Into Leadership course starts with an assessment to gauge where you fall on the volunteer/leader spectrum. You’ll answer a series of questions as part of a self-evaluation, and then you’ll answer the questions from the perspective of a fellow board member. For the final step of the leadership course, you’ll have another board member evaluate you by the same criteria. From those three perspectives, you should find a measure of objectivity.
  2. Understand the leadership path

    Are you on the path to success? Becoming a community leader isn’t a one-step process. Your evolution of volunteer to leader occurs over time and involves stepping into the following four positions:
    a. Volunteer It goes without saying that the first step in your journey to leadership is the step you’ve already taken: volunteering as a board member. You’ve come by this position because, as a member of the association, it’s your right to do so. In this role, you’ll find that members align with you because they have to. To move on to the next step, you need to overcome any personal conflicts or hidden agendas you might have.
    b. Volunteer leader Your success in this capacity depends on your relatability. Members tend to align with you because they want to – based on how approachable and relatable you are. However, to move on to the next phase (leader), you’ll need to focus on continued leadership development through training.
    c. LeaderTo achieve the status of leader, you will ultimately need to be someone who gets results. When you partner with your management company to accomplish tasks in your community, other members will align with you. The contributions you’ve made and the tangible results you’ve been able to obtain will solidify your status as a leader.
    d. Community Leader This is the pinnacle of the process, where members align with you not because of what you’ve done, not because they like you or because they have to, but because of who you are. Becoming a community leader requires more than just an inclination to lead and taking courses on training. You’ll need to put the best interest of your community first and take on your role with humility and responsibility.

  3. Take the right training

    How much do you know about leadership? Once you understand your path and the areas you need to focus on, the next step is getting the training that will help you succeed in a leadership role. Leadership training for an HOA role is similar to the training you would receive in other occupations, so you should start by reading some tried-and-true books on leadership and emotional intelligence. Talley recommends beginning with  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 homeowners association management companies will have the knowledge to help steer you in the direction of other helpful resources, including in-house training and courses offered by the Community Associations Institute (CAI), such as its Board Leadership Development Workshop. While leadership training is universal, knowing how it applies to HOAs is a crucial part of the process.

  4. Get to know your community

    How well do you know your community? Great leaders know their community from the inside-out. That means staying in touch with resident needs and your board’s desires. Your community management company should help facilitate this step of the process by taking care of day-to-day operations like policy enforcement, vendor relationships, timely financials, inspections and serving residents so you have the bandwidth to develop deeper relationships with your community and set policy. Being in tune with your community and focused on setting policy and making effective changes will position you and your association for success.
  5. Create a mission statement

    What’s your mission? Last but certainly not least, developing a mission statement is a crucial step that not only reinforces your role as a community leader, but enables success for your association. Community leaders play a key role in shaping the vision of their HOA, which is why it’s important to be in tune with your community and the needs and desires of residents. The best community management companies will provide you and your board with the recommendations and resources needed to create a great mission statement and to ultimately develop a strategic plan for the community. Having a mission statement and plan in place will play an important role in enhancing the resident experience and ultimately improving property values


Are you ready to lead? Complete the form below to download our helpful guide, 5 Ways to Go From Volunteer to Community Leader


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