Fighting Apathy: Manage a Condo Association Like You Live There


There is a tremendous amount of pressure put upon Condo Association Management.  Being the focal point for the homes of hundreds – maybe even thousands – of people is no small task.  They are in the middle of dealing with everything – construction, maintenance, disasters, grumpy Owners, mean Boards – you name it.  Most Management is able to ensure a positive and healthy culture of respect in an Association.  But just like Board burnout is inevitable, Management burnout can happen as well.  One of the ways Management can fight this – and help train new Community Managers – is to manage a Condo Association like they live there.

The Role of Management in a Condo Association

The center is calm, the rest... not so much. Be the center.
The center is calm, the rest… not so much. Be the center.

Management is the eye of the hurricane in the crazy environment of a Condo Association.  They are the first people Owners talk to when they have a problem.  Great Management can turn a bad situation into a minor inconvenience and win the love and admiration of Owners with a positive attitude and a “get shit done” mentality.  Great Management can also ensure that the Association is strong for the future.  Keeping meticulous records and good documentation always helps a Board govern effectively.

The key to great Management is to Manage a Condo Association like it’s your home – not just a job.  What this means is trying to fight the urge to treat it like a “job” and instead treat it like a home.  This is a very tall, and perhaps almost unfair request.  After all, it is just a job.  But what differentiates the average from the great is the willingness to go beyond.

How to Adopt an “I Live Here” Mindset

For a Manager to be at their very best, they need to approach every situation like they aren’t just a Manager but as if they are an Owner or a Board member.  For example, say a Board is in the midst of a major project or special assessment.  These are exceedingly stressful on all parties involved.  The Board is asking for an exceedingly copious amount of documentation, far beyond what a Manager perceives as being needed.  

From a “Management as a job” perspective, such documentation may seem like overkill.  However, the Board’s goal is to ensure that beyond all doubt the project is captured for future records in the event there is a legal dispute or warranty challenge.  For the Board, this is vital – they live there, and an error could cost the Association – and thus them, as Owners – more money.  From a “job” perspective, it’s possibly unneeded work.  For an Owner, it is essential.  

This doesn’t mean there aren’t times when a Board is being unreasonable.  But it does serve as a reminder that Association life is filled with times where a Board will demand extreme detail to protect their homes.  Great Managers realize this isn’t completely driven by a pedantic Board, but rather a Board who wants to protect their homes.

Bridge the Gap

Bridge the gap!
Bridge the gap!

The best job performers can adopt the mindset of their customer.  This doesn’t mean that Boards get a pass about being abusive or unreasonable.  But it does mean that the best Managers – and the best Management companies – adopt a Board mindset so they can understand the origin of the requests.  If you want to fight apathy from a Management perspective, manage a Condo Association like it is your ownl.  Your Board will be grateful for it.  

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