When I was asked which skill was most essential for board members, I had an immediate consideration for one I thought they should definitely master: listening. However, as a matter of routine, I did a straw poll of some of my managers and asked them the same question. Some of the skills they suggested were:
- Understanding that it’s business; it’s not personal
- Financial aptitude
- Communication, especially with email and email etiquette.
- Macro-management instead of micro-management
- Patience to not make a mountain out of a mole hill
- Understanding what community managers do on a day-to-day basis
After considering their responses, I’m going to fall back on my original suggestion and talk about listening because I feel that with the right listening skills and all that they encompass, we can address many of the other points that our managers brought up.
First of all, having good listening skills truly allows a board member to hear the message of the person addressing the board, regardless of the manner in which the message is delivered. This allows the board member to focus on the business of the association, rather than be distracted by any unprofessional personal agendas or attacks from homeowners or even worse yet, other board members.
Additionally, a board member that utilizes proper listening skills while the community manager at the meeting is speaking will better understand and appreciate the professional message and advice that they’re receiving. As a result, they’re more equipped to make sound decisions on behalf of their association and properly fulfill their duties as a board member.
Our board members come from a variety of professions and backgrounds, where I’m confident many of them excel and succeed. By mastering the skill of listening and accepting that community association professionals are experts with a wealth of advice to share, they will be able to closely follow the advice given to them and achieve success for the board and their entire community.
About the Author
Lance Govang is President of Associa Minnesota. He holds the CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM® designations and has worked in the community management industry for more than 25 years.