Community Association Management, Conflict, Real Estate

Conflict as Sport

Conflict

Is it possible that some people enjoy sowing seeds of discord, creating conflict and drama, or setting a “small brush fire” with partial truths, and then standing back while the fire takes hold? I submit that indeed there are. In my experience, some people need drama. If it is not happening; they will create it. What drives this type of behavior, and how is it manifested in community associations?

There has been a steady coarsening of the American culture, and we need not look much further than our local, and national elections to see how polarized our country is at this stage in our nation’s history. Community associations are microcosms of the larger outside political, social and cultural climate we are currently experiencing. There is an undefined mistrust of the board of directors, committees, management, neighbors, vendors, guests and even the delivery people!

There is, and will always be, a small percentage of the population inside and outside of community associations who are chronic complainers, malcontents and troublemakers. It’s a given; however, recently I have become aware of a new adaptation of agitator that seems to engage in conflict as sport, entertainment and amusement.

This new-to-me type of rabble-rouser automatically takes the opposite position on virtually any subject almost before it is completely uttered! There is an almost perceptible crouching,…tensing of the body as one is communicating a position. Before the last syllable is out of one’s mouth the other party is immediately dismissive and proceeds to outline the reason for rejecting the offer, solution or compromise often without any background information or relative experience on the issue! It is utterly fascinating. I am sure I am the only one who is experiencing this kind of exotic behavior. [Sigh].

I had just such an experience recently. The argument against my proposed solution to a problem was immediately discounted as too expensive and time-consuming, although I had not yet shared either the cost analysis or the completion timetable. I stood there in stunned disbelief; shaking my head trying to comprehend what was happening. As I looked at the other party, it became evident that this was a duel (no swords, or feather hats, mind you) of wills. I promptly surrendered. “The decisions are all up to the Board of Directors” I said. If I make a suggestion and it is declined, I simply make a note for the record and move on.

No bruised ego, no whining, no contest.

Their disappointment was palpable. What? No argument; no pushback (no sport)? Nope. My response was: “You win. Let’s talk again when you’re ready.”

Next.

Endeavor to persevere.

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Community Association Management, Real Estate

Press Your Pause Button

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It is effectively the (unofficial) end of summer. What is your current state of mind? It is likely that you are feeling overworked, overwhelmed and underappreciated. As managers, we work hard to achieve and maintain a high level of productivity, accessibility and accountability. If we have neglected to take time off to relax and recharge, we may be experiencing a greater sense of anxiety because we are nearing the end of the calendar year having neglected to take our earned time off….again. Is there nobility in skipping lunch, missing workouts, cancelling dates or worst of all; not taking any vacation time?

As we approach the last quarter of the year, perhaps we should consider pressing the pause button. What have you been putting off for a “better time”? Today is a great day to make a plan before the busy holiday season is upon us! Invest your time wisely with those who really matter to you. Have been making your work priorities more important than your family, faith and friendships? Wrong order.

Grab a calendar. Choose some dates and coordinate them with your loved ones. Make memories. Relax, reconnect and recharge. The work will be there when you return, and you will be better able to manage the tasks yet to come.

Endeavor to persevere.

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Community Association Management

Let’s Avoid Analysis Paralysis, Shall We?

16064489288_5221bd6ccc_bAnalysis paralysis occurs when we, as managers, are so afraid of making a mistake we over-analyze the options in lieu of executing a decision. As community association managers, we have to make dozens of decisions everyday from the moment we set foot on the property! Unfortunately, we also have to be right all of the time. Our choices have real consequences for owners, tenants, guests, staff, and vendors. For some managers, the weight of the responsibility renders them unable to “pull the trigger”, make a choice and own it!

Often times, there is an written agreement outlining the maximum spending threshold and bid process for major work performed on the property; however, there are hundreds of small decisions required to be made to resolve issues with staff, board members and owners. If a manager does not have the confidence of the board, or committee members, or if they are “micro-managed’ (yes, I said it), a manager may begin to frequently second guess themselves, and delay making a decision while seeking several opinions on the best course of action. The danger in delaying an action is that we risk causing further damage – which in turn, may make matters worse. The analysis paralysis becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our fears delay action; the delay causes further damage; and the result is that we begin to erode the board’s confidence in our ability. We are paid to identify problems, craft solutions and execute decisions.

Remember; we do not forfeit our humanity because we have accepted a highly responsible position. We must make the best decision based on our evaluation, education, experience, skills, training and the context of the current predicament. I encourage managers to not focus on the fear of disapproval or criticism (although, I fully understand the sentiment), but rather to focus on their accomplishments and victories over the course of their career. Simply try to do your best every day. The world will always be filled with naysayers and critics, just stay focused on what you do best.

Adversity reveals character. Endeavor to persevere.

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