Wow, tis’ the season to be jolly, not angry. Yet in the past three weeks – right in the midst of the holidays when love, forgiveness, grace and thanksgiving should abound – I have had an abundance of homeowner association – related problems come across my desk that involve highly charged emotional attachments and reactions that were getting in the way of resolution. So a lot of my own energy and time has been expended trying to help the persons involved get back to a quiet place where they can think rationally, and yes, I charge for this “counseling”! So I am not complaining, just making a point. That time could be spent paying me to propose preventive measures, or solutions. Still, don’t discount the value of a “let’s get real and drop the personal attachment sessions” needed to help people see through the haze of distrust and unrest.

Easy to say, right? Think rationally??? When someone has stepped on your toes, no, when someone has stomped on your pinkies???!!!!

I asked a manager the other day, “What is it that causes you to want to go after that particular board member so vehemently? Have they harmed the association? Or is it that they have offended you by questioning your capabilities?”

I asked a homeowner the other day, “Why would you want to start a personal name calling fight with the Board President? There is no good end to it. Be the more rational person. Your reaction can either escalate or begin to neutralize the battle. “

Hey owners, directors, and vendors – your reaction to an emotionally charged situation can create a “do or die” result.  A rational response in any situation can cause you to shine, and prevail in the end. Calm and grace can carry you into a leadership position. Rationality and professionalism always breed more trust than offensive verbal discourse and interruptive behaviors.

In this industry emotionally charged situations cannot be avoided altogether. Sometimes  jabs are thrown – but   jabbing back is not the best way to act. Every time I hear this: “Well, I did that because he did this first ….” I want to lecture the person on the idea that getting down into the mud with the pigs makes you one of them. I want to recite the golden rule. I want to try and get them to recognize perspectives and act and think rationally.  Easier said than done, but it is always worth a try.

I saw a letter the other day written by a person who “claims to be rational and logical” that made me cringe.  Letters speak louder than words. Actions speak louder than words. We are judged by what we do, not what we say we are capable of doing.

If you ever are “dying to” write a spiteful letter to someone, or call them up and give them what for, try this simple two-step process.

Write the letter you would like to send, or all the things you would like to say in your state of anger or angst. Then sleep on it, deposit in the fireplace or the shredder, or take a walk if you need to and let the wind blow through your head until the heightened emotion quiets. And start over. I assure you that delaying the “send” to give yourself an opportunity to get out of the negative “head talk” will help.  I have taken many walks in the middle of the day just to stop the craziness when faced with a complicated and difficult problem, that begs for a resolution.  I have written several “vent” letters in my day that went the way of the shredder and I have to admit it feels real good. Most were directed at attorneys on the opposite sides of cases. Some at relatives. Imagine that!!!

And boards, sometimes people get elected that disrupt business, or threaten clicques, or that have new ideas, or that are very inquisitive, or that have serious trust issues and always assume the worst. Any board that does not have to deal with these types of people may be stagnant or robotic in the way it does business. View  these things as either a catalyst for needed changes, a test of your professionalism, or a challenge that needs to be overcome. Stay focused on consensus building.

It’s easier to “deal” if you can think rationally.

Maybe it’s the tension of the holidays?

See the E-newsletter recently sent in the archives on my website (if not up yet, will be soon, it was just delivered this am). I wrote about good boards ( The final newsletter of the year will be about good managers. Maybe in January I will write about good owners.

It’s a good time to clean the slate of unhealthy unproductive emotional attachments and responses.

Smile, laugh and sing carols. Happy Holidays


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