Working with Condo Boards that Want to Manage

In previous blog entries, we reviewed Advice for New Condominium Managers, and How to Successfully Transition to a New Property.  So you’ve started your career (or are still advancing it) and you’ve set yourself up for success in your new property.

But there’s a roadblock!  You’re working with a Board that wants to manage the day-to-day affairs of the Corporation, and even micro manages your activities to the point that it prevents you from fulfilling your responsibilities and causes delays in getting things done.  There are a number of reasons that a Board, or its individual members, choose to have such a high level of involvement in the management of their community.  Two main reasons stand out as being the most common – a lack of trust, or a desire for that person to give back to their community.

Working with the individual to develop a business relationship that works for everyone requires different strategies.  So first, please consider what you know about the person and why they might have this higher level of involvement.  If you don’t know enough about them, take the time to develop a relationship so you can implement the right strategies.

Try not to take it personally.  It often isn’t about you and your performance as the Manager.  But it might also be smart to consider if there are areas that your performance could and should improve in order to reduce the amount of day-to-day involvement by the Board.

Build Trust

It is important to make a real effort to build a relationship based on trust with your Directors.  Our tips on Building Trust with your Condominium Board can help point you in the right direction.  Once you have the right foundation of trust in the relationship, have a discussion about making changes in the relationship.

First, prepare yourself to objectively discuss the challenges that micro managing creates for you as a Manager without attacking the actions of the Director.  Start small and ask for their support in trusting you to accomplish certain tasks without their direct daily oversight.  Start small, check in regularly to ensure their satisfaction with your performance, and work up from there.

Recognize Their Need to Give Back

Imagine what you could accomplish as a Manager if you utilized your volunteer resources effectively.  Think of Directors as a blessing, not a curse and find strategies to focus their efforts in a way that will really help you accomplish more.

Consider having a discussion with this Director about how they can really contribute.  Focus on the idea that their volunteer efforts will be more rewarding with specific goals in mind.  It’s very important that you aren’t making up work or giving them unimportant projects to work on.  Don’t hog all the good stuff for yourself either!  Sharing in mutual successes can make this Director an important asset to the community.

You could also try explaining why certain tasks, like communication with trades as an example, are important to be the Manager’s responsibility as they intersect with your other responsibilities in ways that the Director may not have considered.  If a Director is issuing work to trades directly, it could have a negative impact on your ability to manage the Corporation’s finances.

Maybe even look outside the confines of the Corporation itself. There may be community initiatives that benefit the Owners in the condominium that you as the Manager wouldn’t otherwise have time to explore.


Lyndsey McNally, RCM, is a Team Leader at Malvern Condominium Property Management.