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Role of Good Conflict in HOA Decisions


Chances are that the word “conflict” carries a negative connation that makes you cringe. But, don’t be put off by conflict among your HOA Board members. If you allow conflict to reign, it can be a source of destruction. Managed effectively, conflict can bring about good things for your community. It’s vital for HOA Boards to understand the role of good conflict in decision-making.

Good conflict involves two or more people making a choice. Although you may not recognize it, good conflict surrounds us. For example, you make a choice every time you share a meal or go out to eat. You and your friend/family choose what or where to eat. You talk through the options in a “give and take” manner that isn’t stressful. You welcome the opportunity to make a decision because you want to eat.

Ask your Board members to adopt this attitude for problem-solving discussions. While each Board member wants the best for the community, passionate discussions from different perspectives are common. Working through the conflict requires a respectful atmosphere in which each member feels comfortable sharing his/her viewpoint. This good conflict results in better solutions for the community.

Keeping everyone focused on how to achieve the goal is vital to reaping the benefits of good conflict. Some engagement rules are:

  1. Acknowledge that everyone has a right to state his/her opinion in a respectful atmosphere.
  2. State opinions in a positive manner.
  3. Capture the potential solutions with no rebuttals or discussion.
  4. List positive and undesirable attributes of each solution as it relates to the good of the community.
  5. Keep the focus on your goal.
  6. Consensus rules, so agree to disagree. Support the Board’s final decision within the community.
  7. Each HOA Board member must strengthen his/her ability to manage personal emotions and stay on the positive side.

Don’t shy away from opportunities for your HOA Board to share different opinions. Simply create a “give and take” atmosphere for discussions. You need this type of good conflict in your decision-making process. Your community, not an individual owner, wins when everyone focuses on the goal.

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