What Makes a Great Board Member?

A good board member can do a world of good for a community HOA, while a bad one can undermine the whole group. So the next time you nominate and/or vote for a board member, consider the traits below. If you possess these traits, you may want to run yourself. HOAs have an ongoing need for strong leadership.

Remember these traits when running, nominating and/or voting for HOA board members:

Respectful. Respectful people play well together. They tend to keep discussions civil, productive and on point. They function through consensus, not command.

Reliable. These board members show up, follow through, and are someone others can depend on. MIA is not a not characteristic of good board members.

Open-minded. This means being receptive to new ideas. Open-minded people have views of their own but know their views aren’t held by everyone. They also know their views can be wrong—humility factors in too.

Good listener. While listening may seem like a waste of time, it can actually move the ball forward. People want to be heard. When they feel like someone is actually listening, they often return the favor, making it much easier (and quicker) to reach a consensus.

Big picture. This trait covers a lot of ground. It is largely a mind-set, the ability to think globally, consider the needs of ALL homeowners. Personal agendas, especially hidden ones, play no part here.

Thick skin. Sometimes residents, even other board members, can be downright insulting. Effective board members learn not to take things too personally. Rather they turn the conversation around and try to determine what’s really bothering the person (identify the issue).

Healthy ego. Most people have an ego, it’s how it is handled that counts. A healthy ego doesn’t always need to be right, seize control or take credit. Deferring to others helps build a sense of teamwork. Needless to say, Boards function better when members work as a team.

Relevant skills. The ideal board consists of a mix of styles, temperaments and skill sets. A community association operates as a business and needs people skilled in accounting, organizational management, public relations and development. Yet such skills don’t necessary need to originate from the workplace. Many stay-at-home parents know a thing or two about scheduling and fulfillment.

A seat on the Board is open to anyone with these kind of skills and a willingness to learn. Previous board experience is helpful but not necessary. Dedication to community is a must!