There is nothing more refreshing and productive than a group of positive, committed, and affirming people who work well together on a board. However, as with any group of people, there is bound to be one or two difficult people that will make board meetings a challenge. Here are three difficult board members that you might encounter as a part of your HOA board, and how to deal with them.
This board member has strong opinions, and a forceful and manipulative way of getting others to agree with them. This person may use fright tactics, intimidation, or guilt to manipulate others on the board to vote similarly or to side with them. If allowed, this person is capable of sending the board in a destructive direction.
Bullies are usually compensating for an inward weakness with an abrasive exterior. The best way to combat this type of person is to stand up for them yourself and encourage others to do the same. When a bully realizes they do not have the power of intimidation anymore, they will usually back down. It may be necessary to bring in a mediator who is experienced at neutralizing harsh people.
The Bad Attitude
Attitudes are contagious, and a board member with a perpetual frown can set a downward tone for the whole board. This is the person that has a bleak outlook on every topic, and this may even be the person who is in the habit of grumbling about other board members, and saying nasty things behind their backs.
It is important, as an individual, to put an end to gossip and grumbling by refusing to listen. Say something polite but firm when this person tries to spread discord and gossip by whispering in your ear. Make it clear that you are not interested. In a group setting, if you are the chairman, give the person time to talk, but quickly direct the conversation away toward some of the more positive members.
The Stuck in the Past
This is the person who has a difficult time adjusting to change. They will do what they can to keep new technologies or ideas from taking hold in the board and will constantly push to keep things the way that they have always been. Their constant refrain will be “it has always worked before!”
The first thing to do is to realize that sometimes a hand that slows progress can be a good, steadying thing. Give them time to state their opinion, and listen to them. They may have a point! However, never be afraid to move forward if a new development or technology is really necessary for the strength and health of your community.
It is inevitable that you and other members in your HOA board will find yourself or others butting heads with difficult board members. Use the above tips to help you regain the peace and continue having a productive board.