As HOA manager, you will face a lot of challenges. Most likely, at the heart of the challenges (that are the HOA manager duties) is the duty to handle conflict. The type of conflict you’re dealing with can vary like the days of the week. Basically, the only thing you can be sure of is that another one lurks around each corner, ready to pounce on you like a sumo wrestler.
Your plate is pretty full. You’re responsible for day-to-day operations, and meeting the needs of board members and homeowners. As if that weren’t enough, there’s the challenge of overseeing vendors and contractors, hopefully maintaining a positive relationship on that front.
But too often, all of these people see you as “The Fixer.” You’re the manager, so naturally, you must be the source of any and all information, the sounding board for every problem, and the mediator for every conflict. You’re expected to be an attorney, police officer, detective, judge, personal assistant, accountant, building inspector, therapist, and our personal favorite: magician.
Of course you want to help. You want to resolve conflicts. You want to see your HOA humming along and everything going according to plan. But you shouldn’t have to wear 13 different hats to get the job done. So, how do you avoid falling into that trap?
Educate your people what your responsibilities are, and what they’re not. And by “your people” we mean everyone you interact with in your capacity as manager. You’ve must ensure that homeowners, board members, and third-party vendors or contractors understand your role. They need to know what you’re responsible for and what you’re not. And when you aren’t responsible for something, they need to know who is.
How do you get the message across? List board member and HOA manager duties with contact information in each newsletter and on the website. Keep that information updated. When someone calls you for something that isn’t your job, immediately refer them to the correct person…before you get involved or offer to make the call for them.
We get it. It’s difficult to avoid stepping in where you shouldn’t. Often, it seems easier to tackle a problem yourself than to reach the appropriate person or delegate it to the right party. Maybe you actually enjoy being the problem-solver. But here’s the kicker: by stepping into a role that doesn’t belong to you, such as legal counsel or building contractor, you leave yourself and your HOA open to a heap of extra liability. The last thing you want is a lawsuit on your hands.
By educating everyone on what you’re responsible for (and what you’re not), you can save yourself a lot of undue stress. Plus, you’ll help everyone else understand who they should be going to for help on a certain problem. Education is a win-win. You focus on managing all the moving parts, while the HOA runs the way it’s supposed to.
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