Condos are often accused – rightfully – of being cesspools of petty politics, micro tyrants, and generally miserable people. While much of these accusations may be misguided and ungrounded, on the other hand, there is a substantial part of Condo life that unfortunately falls into this category. A good part of this misery comes from apathy – where all the parties have frankly given up. A key way to combat misery and apathy is by maintaining ensuring you are promoting Condo Association professionalism.
Professionalism in Meetings
First and foremost, you want to ensure that your Board and your Management are professional during meetings. This means that people are treated with dignity and respect. You don’t cut each other off, and you don’t engage in name calling. This seems simple – something you should have learned in grade school. But for whatever reason, when it comes to Condo Associations, it all goes out the window.
The lack of Condo Association professionalism in meetings can be toxic to a community. Owners witness it and think they’re dealing with amateur hour leaders (and they’re right to think that). Board members split into factions, and Management just wants to have it all over. Don’t let that happen to you.
Professionalism in Correspondence
The vast majority of your interactions with Owners will be via email correspondence. This is bad, because email makes people lazy and unprofessional. It’s easy to blow people off, and it’s easy to be nasty. This is a two-way street; many Owners feel they can be abusive and rude to Board members or Management via email. And likewise, Board members reciprocate.
When it comes to correspondence, be prompt, be professional, and be responsive. At a minimum, acknowledge receipt of the email while resolving the issue. Sometimes emails to Boards take a long time to resolve. Make sure Owners understand that the delay isn’t indifference, it’s process.
Professionalism in Person
One of the toughest parts of being on a Board is that you always have to be “on.” It’s not fair – it’s an unpaid job – but some people will happily come up to you and say their piece whether you’re carrying 20 bags of groceries, deadlifting 300 pounds, or clearly looking exhausted after a day of work. Unfortunately, they will forever remember how you react. If you’re rude or dismissive, they’ll remember that. If you’re helpful, they might remember that. Make sure you’re at least polite. You can dodge – for example, “That’s a Board issue, and I can’t really talk about it individually. You could email us, or I’d love to see you at the next meeting to discuss this.”
Everyone can’t be perfect all of the time. You’re going to have bad days, you’re going to be tired, and you’re going to be frustrated. What you can do is push to make Condo Association professionalism a theme in your community. You can try to make it something you strive for and push for as a community. If you manage to stay on the ball half the time, you’ll be better off than the vast majority of Associations out there.