Operating a homeowner association carries with it many of the very same duties and responsibilities as overseeing any other business. Volunteering as a board member is a valuable and rewarding experience that should be undertaken by those who see it as an opportunity to serve their fellow neighbors while protecting and enhancing the assets of the community. As a board member, it’s important to remember that you are part of the decision making process for your community.
In an ideal world, a board of directors should be composed of individuals who work cohesively and efficiently to make decisions on behalf of the community they serve. But in reality this is not always the case. Since boards are comprised of different people with different abilities, talents, opinions, and life stories, sometimes conflict arises. Below are 10 tips to improve discussions at your board meetings.
- Stay engaged. Avoid side conversations and other distractions.
- Listen with an open mind. Try to understand others’ perspectives.
- Consider two or more alternatives simultaneously.
- Don’t debate—discuss.
- Separate facts and opinions: Discuss the facts. Vote your opinion.
- Address interests, not positions.
- Move the deliberations forward. Don’t repeat what has already been said.
- Judge ideas, not people. Phrase feedback constructively.
- Identify options on which the group can reach consensus, but don’t minimize legitimate disagreements.
- Consider the interests of the community as a whole.
Test these strategies out for a more cohesive board.