While it may be technically true that any homeowner who is a member of the community can run for a spot on the HOA board, it's just as true that not just anyone can thrive in the role. When electing officers to help lead your community, keep your eye on those who share some of these ten essential HOA board member qualifications.
Present and Accounted For
Seasonal residents are always fun to have in the social mix. Throughout the year, they blow in and out of town, bringing stories and adventures in their wake. These folks make great friends and neighbors, but they're less helpful as board members. You're looking for folks who stay connected to the needs of the community year-round.
Excellent Communication Skills
HOA board members carry on quite a bit of communication, both among themselves and with the community at large. Board members should demonstrate peerless communication skills in the following areas:
- Written. Texts, e-mails, and memos should be clean, error-free, and easy to follow.
- Spoken. Verbal communication, whether one-on-one or in a group setting, should be focused and stay on-point.
- Nonverbal. Experts believe that over 70% of all communication hinges on nonverbal cues. Potential HOA board members should be able to read others well in order to foster healthy communication.
To be an HOA board member is to lead, and one essential component of leadership is integrity. Look for people who demonstrate integrity in the little things, and you're likely looking at someone who will come through in the big things.
- Can you trust them to follow through?
- Have they proven themselves honest and reliable?
- Do they show up when they say they will?
- Do they have a track record for keeping their word?
While most of us will let one another down at some point (sometimes due to circumstances beyond our control), people with integrity have already demonstrated themselves as trustworthy.
The vast majority of responsibilities associated with HOA board member positions involve cooperating with others and/or helping them learn to cooperate with one another for the good of the community.
Since board members handle the financials, they should know their way around a spreadsheet, be able to spot spending irregularities, and have an established reputation for fiscal responsibility.
While it's true that everybody doesn't need to know every little detail behind every decision, an overall posture of transparency in decision making is a definite benefit when leading a homeowner's association. For people who aren't "in the room where it happened," transparency helps build trust, decreases the potential for misunderstandings, and lowers barriers to change.
When working together for the good of a community, it's always important to be open to new information, differing perspectives, and counterarguments. Fostering a sense of flexibility will keep board members from becoming so entrenched in their own mindsets that they can't recognize a valid suggestion if it were sitting right on top of them.
"You can't please everyone." This may be true, but it doesn't stop many of us from trying. A good candidate for HOA board membership, however, will know when it's time to make a decision and let the chips fall where they may.
At some point in every board member's tenure with an HOA, there will come a problem that requires persistence. Someone who can stick with problems until they find solutions, dealing patiently with delays, slowdowns, and setbacks, will make an excellent leader for the community as a whole.
Good board members are those who have a sense of what's possible, what's not, and how to find practical solutions. They're the people you want leading the community.