I believe the most important skill for a board member to possess is objectivity. You need to look at all positions and possibilities and then select the path that provides the greatest good for all members of the association. This may not be the path that benefits yourself the most, but benefits the group. We call this the “no personal agenda” approach to being a board member.
There are many other skills that make a board member a great leader, and practicing objectivity can help you cultivate them all. Those include:
- Dependability – making yourself available and attending board meetings at their scheduled times.
- Honesty – disclosing any conflict of interests and looking out for the good of the community instead of your own businesses.
- Engagement – reading the board packet prior to the meeting, staying up to the date on the association documents, giving thoughtful opinions at board meetings and having goals for the association to achieve.
- Respect – providing information and opinions in a non-confrontational and non-judgmental fashion. Disagree agreeably and if the majority opinion is different than your own accept that and stand united as a board once a decision is made.
- Courage – as a board member you’ll have to make some tough decisions. No one likes to raise the assessments but if it is necessary to maintain the property and protect property values then it is important to be able to make that difficult decision and stand by it. Defend your decisions with facts and don’t take attacks personally. Being a board member can be a rewarding but sometimes thankless job.
- Purpose – true leaders are purpose-driven and treat board meetings professionally. They don’t allow meetings to go off course or become argumentative. There should be ground rules for conduct at all meetings and if someone starts going off on a tangent have the fortitude to keep the meeting on track and wait until after the meeting to discuss off-topic items or re-hash old items that have been settled long ago.
With all these skills in your repertoire and realizing that overlaying them all is objectivity, your community will be poised to make the best, unbiased decisions and will thrive.