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Nov 4, 2010 | Article  Mario D. Deo

The Condominium President's Role

We all strive to be the best we can be, especially when we are placed in a position of authority and responsibility. If you are the president of a condominium, then your role is a very unique one. As president, you were elected twice: once by the owners and once by the board. That makes you the leader of the community. How should you carry out the role as president? What follows are guidelines for carrying out that role. These are not rules without exception, but are useful concepts that will assist you in that highly important position.You will not be able to perfect every point below, but try to be excellent at most of them.

Take charge. Organize the cooperation and effort of the people around you and use all of the resources available to you. It is obvious how this will make your job easier. There are distinct stages in your leadership. First, evaluate your responsibilities, resources and the people that are available to you. Second, select or confirm the team you think will achieve the objectives for your community, and build or gain the consensus of your board members to realize those objectives. Third, set your goals and deadlines and communicate them as necessary. Fourth, execute them, using all of the resources and capabilities of your condominium and by using the concepts in this list.

Be professional, polite and respectful. Be on time and be prepared for meetings all of the time. If you fail once or twice that’s OK, but sincerely and humbly excuse yourself for doing so.

Be demanding. If you and the board have gained the respect of those around you, then you will be able to ensure that tasks are understood, supervised and carried out properly. If a task is not completed well, whether by a board member or a contractor, you must communicate the issue and the consequence. Be firm, consistent and fair. This will set the example.

Be a leader. Take this suggestion seriously. You were chosen because of your qualities. Think of how you want to lead the board and the community. Not all condominiums require, or even should have, the same leadership. Observe, adapt, and use your style of leadership, but lead.

Have a vision. What is your vision for your community? Formulate a vision in consultation with the other board members. Communicate it to the owners.

Create consensus. It is your job to create consensus among the board members. If you do this, you will rarely have to vote. Disagreement is, at times, inevitable, and your vote may be necessary. In that case, respect democracy and support the board's choice.

Do not waste the time of others. Prevent grandstanding and wasted time by board members and owners. You are responsible for chairing meetings and AGMs. Too often, the business at board meetings and owners'; meetings is terribly affected because of a few people that monopolize and grandstand those meetings. Did you know that an owner may only speak once to a motion or issue, unless the entire meeting consents to a second address by the same owner? This is the most basic rule of order which prevents time from being wasted. You are responsible for knowing and using rules of order. Use the rules available in Roberts Rules of Order or Nathan's Company Meetings, to effectively deal with problems at meetings - these are excellent tools.

Create excellent relationships. A good relationship means being respectful, paying contractors on time, and treating people fairly. Respect from colleagues and contractors will make your job much easier and will create a better result for the owners that you represent.

Dictator or a politician, you are not. You are a servant of the community.

Motivate. Train, coach, counsel, accept good ideas and acknowledge them often.

Respect the rights of owners. Don't be fooled; it's easier to govern a restricted community than one that is free to use its facilities more often; but which one would you rather live in? As president, you must ensure that the board strikes a proper balance. As well, all owners' complaints should be considered carefully and judiciously dealt with.

Take personal responsibility. For the good, as well as the bad.

Know your job: A. Know your condominium documents inside-out. I am surprised at how many presidents know very little of their condominium documents.

Know your job: B. Fundamentally, you must not only know the rules of order but you must know the basics of when and how to use the essential procedures within them. The rules were actually created and accepted universally because they are extremely effective, fair, they make sense, and they protect the organization and the people that it serves. You will be astounded by the effectiveness of some of the simplest procedures in them.

Know yourself. Accentuate the good and excellent qualities.

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Mario D. Deo

Mario D. Deo Partner

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