Resolving Community Conflict: 4 Principles for Board Members

Posted on Friday December 08, 2017

Think about the last conflict you experienced on your board or in your community. Who was at fault? It can be easy to point fingers or immediately ignore a “disagreeable” person’s opinion, but as a board member, there are many factors you should take into account. And to help manage the inevitable conflicts that you face in your community, it’s important to arm yourself with the right mindset. To help you on your journey, we’ve outlined four practical principles that are designed to help you manage confrontation and conflict within your community:

1. Be self-aware
The old adage to “know thyself” is just as true in your board meetings as it is in your day-to-day life. It may be tempting to judge how other people communicate or respond to conflict, but the first step in tackling conflict is to knowing your strengths and weaknesses in terms of personality type and communication style. By determining your tendencies, you will be better equipped to deal with others in a fair and level-headed manner.

2. Be empathetic
Listen, listen, listen. At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel as though they are heard and supported, even if they don’t end up getting exactly what they want. This is especially the case when you are dealing with an individual who has a tendency to complain or become angered easily. Listen to why the person is upset, and remember that they are a human being who may be dealing with a variety of issues in their life.

3. Be professional
Maurice Talley, corporate trainer for FirstService Residential in Nevada, said, “Even though a board member is a volunteer, he or she should have the mindset of a professional in the way they treat people.” Ultimately, association members are the representatives for residents and homeowners. And that responsibility should come with a level of professionalism and accountability

4. Be mission-driven
Does your community association have a strong mission statement? If not, now is the time to develop a strong mission in conjunction with other board members. This step helps bring your board together and minimize competing agendas. An experienced community manager will help you set up a strategic mission, which is designed to align your HOA board and enhance your community.

Want to take things to the next level? As mentioned, knowing yourself better can go a long way in managing conflict. You and your board can take your emotional IQ to the next level with DiSC assessments, which allow you to learn more about your personality and the behavior of the people you serve with through specialized training.

Additionally, a great community management company will not only help you identify a mission and areas to grow in, but will provide you with ongoing training solutions to improve your board’s communication. To learn more, contact FirstService Residential, Nevada’s leader in community association management.

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