“How can the Board avoid the burn-out that comes with the job?”
Getting and keeping dedicated Board and committee members is one of a community association’s greatest challenges. Here are some of the ways to prevent burn-out:
Have a Plan. Handling community business efficiently and effectively can be an enormous stress reliever. One great tool is the Management Plan Calendar which establishes dates for meetings, regular maintenance (like gutter cleaning, etc.), administrative events (like tax return filing, etc.), major maintenance (like painting, etc.) a year in advance. The Management Plan Calendar evens out the work load and demonstrates that the Board is acting proactively, not reactively. This, in turn, reduces complaints that contribute to burn-out.
Communicate Regularly. Keeping association business open and above Board reduces suspicion that leads to criticism (no closed meetings). Distribute regular newsletters, monthly financial information and meeting minutes. Ask for feedback on issues by circulating surveys.
Protect Your Privacy. Board members have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes. Do not accept association calls after hours, especially abusive ones. Deal with association issues whenever possible only at scheduled board meetings.
Get It in Writing. Members who constantly complain can be very wearing. Insist that “comments” be put in writing. Several things will happen: Either the problem is not important enough to put in writing and they will go away, or they will put it in writing so it can be dealt with properly at a Board meeting.
Use Your Property Manager. If you have one, the manager should field all routine calls and respond to requests and issues. More significant ones that require Board action are handled at Board meetings.
Use the Board. Board Presidents often feel that they have to do everything themselves because no one else will do it. This attitude can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. It is not the President’s job to solve all problems, but to lead and delegate. The Board structure was designed to spread out the load. Resist the temptation to carry the burden alone.
The Board as Administrator. A fundamental error that many Boards make is doing office and maintenance work for free that would otherwise be hired out. Doing this undermines the Board’s true purpose…to administrate association business. An administrative position that should only take a few hours a month rapidly escalates to a full-time unpaid job. Who wouldn’t burn-out? Remember the Board’s true purpose and stick to it.
Reward the Volunteers. The most widespread reason for burn-out is because it is a “thankless job.” In job satisfaction surveys, recognition and appreciation consistently rank way above pay. Find ways to reward directors, committees, and other volunteers through awards, recognition in newsletters, and certificates. They cost little or nothing, but address the human need for significance. Volunteers that receive appreciation in small but regular ways stay enthusiastic.
*** Used with permission from Richard Thompson of www.Regenesis.net