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Traits of Good Board Members

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Traits of Good Board Members

Do you have what it takes to be a good board member? Chances are you do.

If you have a mix of some of the following traits and skills, consider running for a seat on the board.

Respect. If you can give others respect and expect it in return, you can help keep board discussions civil, productive and on point.

Good listening. People want to be heard. Can you listen to board members and residents with sincere interest? You may have a few ideas of your own, but everyone benefits by sharing and discussing.

Thick skin. Sometimes, residents—even other board members—can be mean and insulting. Are you good at turning a conversation around and finding out what’s really bothering people?

Egos aside. If you can give others credit, the board will operate better as a team.

Agenda aside. Members who come to the board looking to help only themselves are a problem. A board is more productive when members don’t have a personal punch list. Are you able to look after the community, not just your own interests? Are you willing to compromise?

Skill. An association is a business. So having board members with accounting, organizational behavior and team-building backgrounds can help. Someone with a financial background, for example, might make for a good treasurer.

The ideal board comprises a mix of management styles, professional skills and temperaments. If you know people with some of these traits or relevant skills, ask them if they’d be interested in joining the board. Some people don’t think about running for a seat unless asked.

You don’t have to know everything when you join, but you should be familiar with the governing documents and the responsibilities of the job. Fellow board members and managers can help you with the transition and train you on board responsibilities, current work, projects and hot issues.

Leaders can come from different places and backgrounds. There’s no one mode that fits all. Share your knowledge and passion with the community.