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Resolving Underlying Conflicts Among HOA Volunteers


Diversity is a source of strength for HOA Boards and committees. Different personalities, skills and experience translate to a variety of problem-solving approaches. Yet, this diversity can also create underlying conflicts. Here are some ways to resolve common issues in community associations.

Inner circles are typical among HOA volunteers. Available time, willingness to work and skills play a major role in projects. Over time, control may shift to a couple of Board members who get things done. If this is happening on your Board, it’s time to take action. These approaches help restore balance.

  • Review introductory training. Clarify roles, authority and the decision-making process. Include all Board members in the training to encourage involvement.
  • Recap consensus and quorum rules that are in your governing documents so that everyone knows expectations.
  • Conduct a skills analysis for HOA Board members and perhaps other key volunteers. This raises awareness of the range of available skills.

Opposing strategy views can lead to underlying conflicts among HOA Board members. Most volunteers have strong values, which can lead them to feel that their opinion is best. Try these tips to resolve value-based disputes before they damage relationships.

  • Are members sensitive to other viewpoints in discussions? Establish an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable expressing his/her view.
  • Analyze options objectively. Is there a possibility for a win-win? Use face-based data to support decisions for the community.
  • Recognize that not everyone will agree on a decision. Yet, you need to emphasize that all Board members must support the decision when they walk out of the meeting.

Veteran Board members have served the community for years and feel ownership. Due to their history, they may try to dominate meetings. It’s important to establish balance between veteran and new Board members to avoid underlying conflicts. Here are some tips that can help.

  • Appreciate the knowledge and past contributions. Outlining the need for change can help veterans understand that communities evolve. This can help them reframe their ideas for today’s needs.
  • Clarify roles and Code of Conduct outlined in your governing documents. Follow these rules in meetings and decision-making to prevent domination.
  • Review the veteran role for value. Is there another position in which he/she can be more effective? Perhaps a committee or advisor role would have more value for the person and community.

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