Contributed by Lydia Pelliccia and Matthew Green, CAE
In broad strokes, the job of the community association manager is part financial management, urban planning, facilities maintenance, community development, volunteer management, and project management. Good managers also learn to master seven soft skills and knowledge, according to Rhonda Drews, AMS, PCAM, a vice president with Premier Community Management in Palm Desert, Calif.
Leadership. A good manager must be confident enough to discuss best practices and not let others intimidate them. Some board members will be very opinionated, and the manager should know how to respond in a constructive way. A manager should be able to lead as well as know when to delegate responsibilities to others.
Professionalism. This includes written, verbal, and physical presentation. A professional manager will remain calm in tense circumstances, won’t raise their voice, or show frustration. Having conflict resolution skills will help resolve issues without needing legal intervention.
Communication. A strong manager must communicate daily with their board, residents, and business partners. They should be able to interact well with all types of individuals despite differences in background, opinions, or beliefs. Managers also must be prepared to say no without making it sound negative or spinning a bad light on management. Many people will come to managers with concerns, and they should have the patience to listen and understand.
Community association governance. Managers must be well versed in the workings of their association and its governing documents. This includes staying up to date on federal and state laws regarding communities. A good manager will be proactive and aim to serve clients to their fullest ability and take pride in their work.
Business partner relations. Business partners are your allies. A community association manager should respect their business partners and rely on their expertise. It’s not necessary to have specific knowledge of various trades, but a general understanding of the work or service and the ability to effectively communicate the needs of the community is helpful.
Conflict management. Dispute resolution is an integral part of community management. A successful manager will know how to negotiate between parties and help them reach a compromise. Proper mediation can leave people happy enough with the results and feel like their opinions are heard and considered.
Time management. Having many tasks can be overwhelming. However, a good manager will be able to handle multiple responsibilities and tasks at the same time. Time management also involves setting boundaries and hopefully leads to less stress. Understanding and practicing work-life balance is essential for successful managers.
Lydia Pelliccia is a consultant for Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB). Matthew Green, CAE, is executive director of CAMICB.
>>Learn more about CAMICB and its mission to ensure that community association managers practice with professionalism, integrity, and knowledge.