How to be a successful condo board director


In a previous postI provided a checklist of the best practices that successful boards can use.  Successful boards are made up of successful directors.  What makes a successful condo board director? Here are five characteristics I’ve noticed that are common to the best directors:

Knows the responsibilities and follows through with them

A successful director knows their roles and responsibilities, and also the role of the property manager. They always wear their director hat at the right time.  Understanding the meaning of fiduciary responsibility, and always making decisions in the best interest of the corporation becomes standard practice.  Good directors have read and understand all relevant provincial, state, or municipal legislation and the declaration, bylaws, and rules for their condominium.

Is not afraid of the tough decisions

Making the tough decisions can be hard.  Raising condo fees is never a popular course of action.  Successful directors are not trying to win a popularity contest and are not afraid to raise fees or introduce a special assessment when necessary.  Maintaining a property is expensive.  Cutting corners on maintenance is a very poor practice and one that always proves more costly over the long run.

Possesses relevant skills

People who are good leaders, well organized, great at interpersonal relations, able to think strategically, act proactively, and are good with financial management are valuable additions to any board. Having a background in accounting, bookkeeping, governance, law, engineering, or construction is also helpful.  Previous experience on a board of directors is great, but in my experience, few condo board directors have this experience.

Being able to “find your way in the dark,” is a special attribute that I think separates a good director from a great director.  This is an individual who has a deep desire to learn and a forensic sense of curiosity; never stops digging into and peeling back the layers of an issue until reaching the core.  This means knowing how to ask the right questions and to keep asking questions.  It takes time and experience on a board to know what questions to ask.  Over time, and with experience most directors find this gets easier and takes less time to uncover the underlying cause of an issue.

Holds a B.O.A.R.D mindset

It might be helpful to remember this acronym – BOARDBe an Open And Responsible Director.  I made it up as a quick reminder of what it is that directors do.  I hope that by keeping BOARD in mind, directors will govern with balance, honesty, and transparency. Balance is critical to the success of any condo board; every director strives to fairly and honestly enforce rules, bylaws, and the declaration of the corporation.

Actively recruits new members

It is never too early to start recruiting new directors. It usually takes a lot of persuasion, encouragement or just plain arm twisting to get people willing to serve.  Directors come and go, but the board always needs to have a full complement of directors.  Vacant positions result in fewer people to get the work done and overloads the remaining directors. Ultimately, every director brings unique skills and style, but successful directors put responsibility and balance before everything else. Condo boards need directors who are willing to ask the right questions, keep an open mind, and work tirelessly for the good of the corporation.

Do you know any directors like this?  Is your board like this? What is your board’s secret to success?  Add a comment below if you would like to share your experiences.