Discontent can become a major distraction for your community. Helping an unhappy homeowner in any setting can be a real challenge. But in a homeowner association, where the person who is displeased is your neighbor, there exists an entirely new level of concern. But, the bottom line is, unhappy homeowners often just need to be heard.
One of the most important skill sets for anyone is knowing how to handle tricky or difficult situations. Sometimes, an upset member of your association will be the most difficult part of being a board member. Unfortunately, it comes with the territory. There are ways to mitigate these situations that will help reduce tension and build an amicable resolution for everyone:
- Let Them Vent – Approach the situation knowing the homeowner has the right to be angry. In order to evaluate the situation correctly, you can’t assume the homeowner is in the wrong from the start. Listen to the entirety of their complaint so they feel as though nothing has gone unsaid or unheard. They may simply just need to vent, after which everything may be fine, now that it is off their chest.
- Remain Neutral – Give all parties involved the same time to say what they need to say. It’s important to remain neutral and unbiased, no matter what side you tend to agree with.
- Show Concern – People inherently want to feel understood. Even if you don’t necessarily agree with their viewpoint, let the homeowner know that you understand where they are coming from. Empathy goes a long way in these situations!
- Focus on Points – Just because someone is difficult to deal with doesn’t mean they are wrong. Remove the bias that can be associated with the person, or with how things have always been done, and analyze just the point that is being argued.
- Stand as One – It’s important for the board to stand together on decisions – otherwise, there will be pushback once a weak spot is perceived. Gather your thoughts and make sound decisions on matters beforehand so that everyone is on the same page when going into a discussion or meeting.
Unhappy members of the community are just part of the job for an HOA board member. It comes with the territory. However, when approached and handled correctly, these situations don’t have to be a nightmare. Knowing how to respond to an angry community member can make the difference in successfully resolving an issue, or creating an even bigger issue down the road. Just remember, we are all neighbors and want the best for our community!
For additional questions on tricky situations or for help managing your Phoenix homeowners association, contact Spectrum Association Management today! We also have several locations throughout Texas and serve San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Austin, and surrounding areas.