How Disgruntled Homeowners Made Me A Better Board Member

Disgruntled Homeowners Made Me A Better HOA Board Member

How Disgruntled Homeowners Made Me A Better Board Member

Nobody really looks forward to an angry voicemail about a barking dog, or a disgruntled homeowner venting about assessments at a board meeting….

But, those interactions and others like them could actually be quite beneficial – good for both the health of your HOA board and your personal growth and development.

Margaret Heffernan, an international entrepreneur, CEO, and author of the award-winning “Willful Blindness,” discussed this phenomenon in her TEDGlobal talk, “Dare to Disagree.”

Heffernan shared the story of Dr. Alice Stewart, a doctor and epidemiologist who researched the relationship between radiation and childhood cancers in 1950s Britain. Dr. Stewart’s research partner, statistician George Kneale, considered it his job “to prove Dr. Stewart wrong” – challenging her findings at every step.

“It was only by not being able to prove she was wrong that George could give Alice the confidence she needed to know she was right,” Heffernan says. “It’s a fantastic model of collaboration – thinking partners who aren’t echo chambers.”

Encouraging the expression of different points of view can lead to a healthier, happier homeowners association in the long-term.

  • It can prevent single-mindedness in your HOA. Individual homeowners may have concerns that aren’t readily apparent to the board or the rest of the homeowners. Those insights could be important for the group as a whole, and considering them can prevent the “echo chambers” that Heffernan warns about.
  • It can provide a system of checks and balances. No one is above accountability; sometimes even the most responsible and diligent board member can show a lapse in judgment. It’s good for everyone, including the board member, to have homeowners who are willing to speak up if that happens.
  • It can foster a culture of open communication. When other homeowners see that healthy dialogue is encouraged, they may be more willing to get involved and share their own insights.

Of course, disgruntled homeowners may not always voice their concerns in positive, constructive ways. There are many professional resources that offer tips on dealing with those and others in your association, such as the Community Association Institute’sPearls of Wisdom” guidebook. Just remember that even the most challenging personality among them can provide opportunities for growth and progress.

Comments 2

  1. Mishelle

    I am a owner And 2 months our community began experiencing car thief and car break in. The community was in a panic. I call and told the property manager our deliema she advised me to call police and then began to elaborate about how this happens every where and many of Neighbors were renting and has change the dynamics of the neighborhood. Offering no help. A couple of weeks after our HOA meeting was to take place so I went thru the neighborhood door to door letting everyone know that it was vital that they attend this meeting so that we can get help for our community deliema. The community turned out actually one of the largest turn outs ever. The property manager answer the concerns by saying ” we can offer you no financial help purchasing a gate nor security because you people are not paying your dues yet driving around in your fancy cars” I was livet!! And the board of directors sit quietly by while she said this. I later rallied up a few members who agreed to work me to set up a community watch program. Which I learned we did not have one when the signs posted said we did. In fact I was told we never had one. Long story short the property manager is angry with me for the comments I made regarding her comments about not paying my bills. I pay my bill did not appreciate her comments. She has been doing things to undermine my efforts towards establishing a community watch committee. What should I do?

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