As I was driving to work this morning, I was reflecting on some of the less than constructive communications I have witnessed in the community association context lately. I don’t know if it’s the heat that’s getting to everyone or if the ugly presidential campaign is starting to rub off on us, but it seems like some folks have lost the ability to be constructive and to think before they act or speak.
Whether it’s a homeowner to homeowner dispute, homeowner to board dispute, board to homeowner dispute, homeowner to manager dispute or any other combination – everyone needs to take a deep breath and think before they act. It’s also a good rule of thumb not to blast off that nasti-gram or leave a blistering voicemail in the heat of the moment.
I’m convinced that if homeowners, managers and boards truly listen to one another, don’t immediately jump to negative conclusions, do not engage in personal attacks and stand in the shoes of the other person for just a minute – we would be able to cut down on much of the ugliness that can arise in HOA disputes.
Are we always going to agree? No. Are boards or managers always going to be able to give homeowners what they want? No. But by listening to each other and empathizing with how the other person is feeling, we can at least agree to disagree in a constructive manner that preserves relationships and a sense of community.
Being an Irish American, I confess that I have to constantly work at keeping my Irish-temper in check when I’m feeling frazzled. I always try to remember what my mom regularly told me: “Molly Ann – remember that you catch more flies with honey!” I’m trying to follow your sage advice mom and am passing your little nugget of wisdom along . . .