Community Association Board Stereotypes: Who is On Your Board?
We do not get to choose who will be in our families. In other situations like work or school, we are thrust into communities where the concept of “getting along” is required of us. This is especially true in a neighborhood where a community association is the governing body responsible for the management and upkeep of that environment. In many ways, an HOA or condo board is like a microcosm of every other type of “forced community”. You are going to get all kinds of personality types meshed together to work towards the common good. Unfortunately, some of these personalities do not always get along.
Does your community association board work well together?
Can you recognize these “stereotypes”?
The Take Charge Member
You could call this person the “natural born leader.” This is the board member who keeps things moving at a meeting and is the great facilitator. Typically, this type of person already has some executive experience on their resume and is happy to assume the rule of CEO. If your board is working with a community association management firm, your manager should be this person!
The Eternal Pessimist
When considering improvement projects it is important to think about the worst case scenario. Usually this will be brought up by the Eternal Pessimist on your HOA board. This is the member who thinks doom is just around every corner whether that means a leaky faucet that could turn into a mold attack or a crack in the pavement that will result in lawsuits. There is nothing wrong with being overly cautious but that has to be tempered with a bit of realism.
Old Man Potter
Every neighborhood has one of these characters. This is the person who is bothered by everything. Even if you were to give in to all of their demands they would still find something wrong. Unlike the Eternal Pessimist who fears bad things happening, Old Man Potter sees wrongs in the actions of others. This is the type who will quote chapter and verse of the CC&Rs for the slightest of infractions. They will be the first one to complain about the neighbors breaking the rules.
This is the person on the board who has a hard time taking sides. They see both sides of the proverbial coin. While it is great to be objective, at some point you need to take a vote. Too often the Switzerland character wants to be neutral on every issue so as not to offend anyone. The result is that they end up offending everyone because they cannot take a stand.
There will always be someone who has lived in your community the longest. They have seen it all come and go. Hopefully, the Historian is amenable to perspective and context. If not, they will begin every story with, “I remember when it was better…” If they are constantly living in the past they will never adapt to changes.
This is the HOA member who does not want to spend a dime on anything. And forget about assessments! They will vote them down as a matter of principle. Actually, there is a benefit to having a Scrooge on the board. They are sure to keep things honest and cost effective.
This might just be the most dangerous person on an HOA board. Being a gossip goes hand in hand with stirring up trouble. Neighbors cannot help but be nosy; it is in everyone’s self-interest to pay attention to what is happening. However, when the Gossip takes those “reports” and begins spreading them to create contempt then there is the potential to stir up a hornet’s nest of trouble. Best to eliminate this before it gets too pervasive.
So, who is on your HOA board? If you have to ascribe a personality to yourself which would you pick? Who did we leave out? Feel free to share your stories and comments.