Aiding condo managers on the front lines: Taking measures to nurture a low-stress environment

by | Condo & HOA Focused, Governance, Property Manager

For condo managers who work on the front lines of condo corporations, day-to-day business may include interacting with owners who might be unfriendly or keeping up with a busy and sometimes demanding board of directors. It takes a special person.

The industry is grappling with a worrisome trend. The number of certified managers is dwindling, while the number of condo corporations is on the rise. This could potentially lead to a crisis in finding competent condo managers to handle operations. It’s a pressing issue that condo boards must confront.

Creating a low-stress environment for condo managers is not an option but mandatory. This is one way to support managers who may face varying levels of stress in their work environments. Here are ten measures that condo boards can implement to help managers thrive and increase their likelihood of staying on the job.


Low-stress boards are not just nice to have; they are necessary. These boards are well-organized, have clear job descriptions for directors, and hold regular meetings. Directors come to meetings fully prepared to discuss the items on the agenda. Directors understand the importance of ‘fiduciary responsibility’ and other aspects that improve the overall organization of a condo board. This environment reduces stress for property managers, enabling them to provide the high-quality service that owners and boards expect.

Code of conduct policy

A code of conduct spells out expected behaviors. One aspect is how owners and directors communicate with property managers. The policy identifies that interactions must always be courteous and professional; in other words, owners are expected to be nice.

Being nice doesn’t mean an owner can’t raise an issue of concern to the manager. But it does mean that the owner presents the problem courteously and professionally. Boards may need to educate unit owners on interacting with managers and should always step in if any owner transgresses the policy. Condo managers should never need to be worried about nasty emails or confrontations.


Yes, directors are unpaid, but they shouldn’t make excuses for not accomplishing a task because they are volunteers. Condo managers are too busy to keep waiting when directors fail to meet deadlines. Knowing directors are reliable helps mitigate stress from unfulfilled duties’ uncertainty.


These informal agreements or policies go beyond the contract that the board has already signed with the management company. For example, directors know that their role is to govern and never expect their managers to take on this role. Directors should most definitely ask their managers for advice and recommendations but should never expect the manager to make decisions for the board. Having such expectations is stress-inducing. Managers manage, and boards govern.

Managing disagreements

Directors and managers will disagree. Hopefully, serious differences occur only occasionally. The best directors know that their relationships with their managers are always professional and open to resolution. Never let personal feelings attend board meetings; resolve conflicts as quickly as possible when disputes arise.

All for one and one for all

Debate and discussion are expected during board meetings, but once a decision is made, all directors need to support the outcome. When appropriate, decisions can be shared with owners.

This translates to managers receiving clear instructions and guidance from the board—always knowing exactly what to do. If more than one director offers instructions or is unclear, managers may get stressed while figuring out what to do next.

Keeping up to date on current condo affairs

Being a director means keeping current on condo affairs by following relevant blogs, surfing the Internet, and attending educational sessions. Managers need to save time for other tasks rather than educate directors on every intricacy of condo life.

Meeting protocols

Given that most interactions between boards and managers occur during meetings, this time must be well spent. Every director must promise to come to meetings prepared and ready to contribute productively. Unprepared directors waste everyone’s time, especially managers looking to the board to make decisions. When the lack of preparation delays the board from making a decision or results in a wrong decision, there are consequences. It could delay the manager from implementing a task or lead to problems because the decision was not clearly thought out in the first place.

Timely minutes

Meeting minutes are essential documents. Draft minutes must be provided as soon as possible after meetings since directors and managers rely on that information. As the minutes serve as a record of the board’s decisions, they are essential communication tools for the manager who works on these decisions. Obtaining this information promptly reduces the possibility of any confusion regarding the board’s decisions.

Openness to technology

New technology has already changed the way most people work. Boards must be willing to learn about new technology that could help streamline a property manager’s work.

A bonus

Implementing these strategies will significantly reduce property managers’ stress loads. They also have the welcome but unintended consequence of lowering stress among directors, who benefit from increased efficiencies and organization. A win-win result benefits all.

In closing

Directors need to be mindful of the work expected from their managers. Failure to implement at least some of the suggestions in this post could push managers over their limits and accelerate their exit from the industry.

Originally published in Condo Business Magazine