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Dealing with Difficult Board Members

The HOA board is responsible for making decisions that are in the best interest of homeowners. They are tasked with creating and enforcing rules, establishing a budget, managing reserves, resolving problems, and much more. All of these tasks can be hindered, however, when the board members themselves have difficulty agreeing and getting along. Sometimes there is one rogue person who seems to disagree with everything and causes strain within the board.

But they are an elected member of the board, chosen to represent the community, so what can be done? There are several ways to deal with difficult board members:

  • Hear them out.

Let the person express their opinion and try to gather more information about why they feel the way they do. Why are they so adamant for or against a certain decision? Their reasoning may go deeper than simply wanting to play the devil’s advocate and be difficult. Listen to their concerns and rationale and try to keep an open mind. This can make it easier to find a compromise or look at things from a different perspective.

  • Have a private discussion.

The board may want to hold an executive session to discuss the challenges a board member’s behavior is presenting. If they have broken specific rules, they may be unaware of what they have done, so letting them know in private can turn things around. It can also alert them to the fact that the rest of the board has an issue with their decisions and things are reaching a point where changes must be made.

  • Try mediation.

Talk to your community manager and see if they have recommendations for resolving the issue. They may encourage the board to engage in mediation with a neutral third party to come to an agreement about decisions that are outstanding or where one person in question is holding everything up. Difficult board members may feel less threatened or attacked when working with a mediator.

  • Engage in training.

Get the entire board involved in some professional development courses. Everyone can benefit from courses on leadership, decision making, management, and other topics. Rather than singling out a specific board member, try to enhance everyone’s skills including teamwork, collaboration, communication, and conflict resolution. Sometimes people aren’t trying to be difficult, they just don’t have great leadership or management skills.

  • Remove them from office.

If worst comes to worst, the board can vote to remove the person from their officer position, but they will still be a member of the board. Typically, the only way someone can be removed from the board itself is if they are recalled or voted off by the membership. The board can also try to recruit strong candidates to run for the board so in the next election a difficult person will not be re-elected and another candidate will be voted onto the board instead.

Remember that everyone should be working toward the same goal – doing what is best for the community as a whole. If the board is having problems, a property manager can help them figure out the best plan for resolving issues and moving forward. Contact Kuester today to learn more about how we support HOAs in operating as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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Bryan Kuester

Bryan Kuester

Bryan is the CEO of Kuester Management Group. He has over 15 years of managing community associations throughout North and South Carolina.

His specialties include Community Association Management - maintenance, budgeting for operational and reserve funding, long-range planning, covenant enforcement, amenity management, onsite management, large scale management.