Through all the roles we take on in life, the aim should always be the best we can possibly be, adhering to a set of standards. From our careers to our personal lives to our work as volunteers, these standards can guide how we think and act in a way that considers others and provides the most benefit for all involved.
This is a good foundational principle to keep in mind. However, there are other qualities that define a great HOA community board member.
A Board member does step into a leadership position. But that doesn’t mean that thoughts and actions should all be directed at that role of leader. Instead, it’s more beneficial for all involved if a board members see themselves first as a servant tasked with upholding a fiduciary responsibility to the community they are bound to represent.
Their role is to serve the community they are representing, putting community needs and concerns ahead of their own. In this position, the Board member is also a community member, so it should be easier to see what other members like themselves feel and think. In this way, they will view their role as an opportunity to strengthen community bonds, be fiscally responsible, and preserve and improve its environment and appearance.
Character defines us as individuals, including what we stand for and a set of guiding principles. Strong character is known for admirable traits, such as integrity, honesty, and ethical decisions and actions. The focus is on doing the right thing at all times for the good of the greatest number of people.
Those with excellent character are concerned about building trust, maintaining strong relationships, and showing compassion for others. They have a passion for social justice and ensuring equality for all, which makes them good candidates for community Board members. In this role, those with excellent character will focus on doing what is fair rather than be swayed by popular opinion.
A great community board member is all in. They don’t come into the role, planning on doing as little as possible. Instead, they devote all their available time to fulfilling the role they accepted, believing that the more effort they invest in guiding the community, the better place it will be to call home for everyone.
A committed board member is happy to participate in meetings and find ways to manage the community in a way that continually improves the amenities, security, and value it offers. They prepare for meetings and have spent time understanding the present issues that impact the community.
During meetings, a committed board member asks questions, actively listens, and thoughtfully responds to other members. They are excited to be there, and it shows in everything they do.
You will want to have Board members that are future thinkers, enabling them to offer insights and ideas that go well beyond the ordinary. These incredible Board members are entrepreneurial and innovative in how they approach community issues. This includes finding ways to do more with less or tackling the unexpected with knowledge and experience they have accumulated from other areas of life.
Rather than focusing on short-term operations, the best board members for communities prefer a strategic lens. Going beyond what some board members do, these candidates willingly get involved with a strategic planning process, preferring tactics like preventative maintenance and living reserve studies.
You want to have community Board members who are inquisitive and never satisfied with what they know and do. Instead, look for those candidates who are eager to elevate their personal understanding of what board service involves. These are individuals who sign up for workshops, webinars, and conferences so they can expand their knowledge and skillsets.
They also want to hear from other people about their board experiences so they can add any best practices that others can provide. It’s in these mentoring moments where they see how they can get better through listening to an outside perspective.
In their pursuit of continual improvement, these optimal candidates for community boards also undertake self-evaluations to see where they can do better in how they approach their role.
Organizations now understand the benefits of diversifying their teams, offering wider representation for vast perspectives, talents, and skills. It helps to have board members who are keen to champion the diversity effort to ensure the board reflects the same diverse set of residents in your community.
Having this depth and breadth of representation will ensure everyone has a voice and provides space to expand understanding of various cultural beliefs and values, enriching the community.
Whether they have previous experience or not, an excellent board member will add value if they know how to nurture all stakeholder relationships, including other board members, community management, and residents. As such, they seek out partnerships that will further tighten community bonds and build a cohesive board.
The type of board member you want is one who clearly understands and agrees with their role as a strategic planner and servant leader. They know what they can contribute to this role and stay within the bounds of the assigned tasks.
Also, in knowing their role, they focus on creating a balance of responsibilities where they do not spill over into the role of senior management or other staff activities as if they need to be micromanaged. Instead, they respectfully stay in their lane.
Part of being a great Board member can also involve finding the right community management company. Innovia’s membership highlights how good attracts good, creating a cooperative of like-minded companies who seek to do what’s best for the communities they serve. If that sounds like your guiding principle, we’d love to introduce you to one of our management company members.