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Love Where You Live: Building Emotional Equity in Your Community

When you’re leading a community, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks like scheduling maintenance, enforcing rules and creating budgets. But, when we only focus on work that’s in front of us, we forget why we do the work in the first place: to create a community where all residents love to live, which is what we call emotional equity.

Emotional equity is the feeling a community provides for its residents. It’s a sense of belonging, an atmosphere of commonality and the undeniable belief that community is in fact home.

While it sounds like an intangible concept, emotional equity is built through deliberate actions. It’s illustrated when board members shift their focus from maintenance, finances, and enforcement to people, community and leadership. It manifests itself when each board member puts aside personal motives and honors their fiduciary duty. And, it occurs when board members strive to become servant leaders and recognize that their power is only a temporary stewardship.

In our nearly 40 years of helping boards across the world manage communities, we’ve found that in addition to a proactive board, no matter what the community’s size, location or vision, there are four key indicators of emotional equity. When these key areas are high, so is a community’s emotional equity.

  1. Maintained Homes. Beautiful and functional homes aren’t only important to property values, but to community values. Serve as an example to your residents by diligently maintaining common areas and taking pride in your own property.
  2. Effective Leadership. Communicate the importance of becoming a board member by demonstrating the difference the board has made as a team. Show residents that attending board meetings is worth their time by actively listening to their concerns and thoughtfully responding to their ideas.
  3. Positive Governance. Create a positive impression of your board and overall community by simply leading competently and transparently. And, make room in the budget for expenditures outside of maintenance that will help build emotional equity directly, like events and activities.
  4.  Community Involvement. Instill a sense of community that extends to the next town, or even the next state, by helping others. Get involved in local initiatives or partner with us to support our corporate citizenship programs, Associa Cares, Associa Green and Associa Supports Kids. 

Your board won’t have to force emotional equity after setting such a positive and powerful example of community. Your leadership will inspire residents to independently begin talking over their fences and letting the kids stay out until the street lights come on. And as emotional equity grows, it feeds on itself, spurring neighbors to become friends and developments to become true communities with rich culture and engaged residents who are happy to call your community home.