CAM-mitment – Part I

CAM-mitment – Part I

by Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM / Published December 2015



CAMs are committed to their careers. They attend classes to keep up with the current laws and network with other professionals to keep up to date with the industry best practices. Most of the information for CAMs focuses on knowledge and skills, goods and services providers who are available for support, legal issues, and the application of existing and new laws, rules, and regulations. However, being the best physically and emotionally is as vital to good performance as is superior knowledge and excellent skills.

In this series, we will look at four areas of the BEST physical and emotional success—Boundaries, Emotional Development, Stress, and Team Support. This series is not therapy or counseling, just good common sense things we should have learned by the seventh grade.


Boundaries protect us—physically and emotionally. Boundaries keep “good” things in and “bad” things out. They include skin, words, geographical distance, emotional distance, other people, and consequences.

Skin—what “good” does skin keep in and what “bad” does it keep out? Why is skin considered a boundary, and what can you do to keep this particular boundary strong?

Words—especially the word “no.”  What other words could be considered boundaries?

Geographical distance—removing yourself from a situation. How is geographical distance a boundary?

Emotional distance—Guarding your heart. What does this mean to you?

Other people—How can other people help you set and keep boundaries?

Consequences—Why are consequences necessary to strong boundaries?

Boundary Reminders

  • Let my “yes” be “yes,” and my “no” be “no.” Strive for honesty, but be nice.
  • I will not be a spiritual clairvoyant or second guess anymore. When asked questions or for an opinion, I will give information instead of guessing what they want to hear.
  • Resentment is a signal that I should have said “no” sooner.
  • People with good boundaries are seldom angry. How often am I angered?
  • People with good boundaries seldom blame others. How often do I excuse my behavior or blame others? “She made me mad.” “He just ruined my day.” “Did you see the way they looked at me?”
  • Do I look at people and say to myself, “I would be so good for them. If they just had my influence for a little while.” “I know he (she) is really a good person, deep down inside. He (she) just needs an understanding person around him.” Instead, I should be looking for people who are a good influence on me.
  • Who do I know that is a good influence on me? What character qualities do they display that I would like to learn?
  • Who am I responsible for? Myself. What am I responsible for? My own TWAAMS (thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, motives).
  • I cannot develop healthy boundaries alone. I must have several other supportive, safe people around me to practice on. Think of several.
  • The hardest person for me to say “no” to is _________________. I will practice “no” on them later after I get stronger.
  • I am attempting to control others when I say “you should….“ or “why don’t you….” I am to use “I” messages. “I will . . . if you continue to . . .” State my boundary and the consequence for violating it.
  • I can renegotiate my boundaries when I see consistent, positive changes (not just promises) in the other person.

Emotional Development

There are three basic levels of emotional development through which we are supposed to pass as we mature: dependent, independent, and interdependent. It is possible to be 60 years old chronologically, but only 18 months emotionally.  Those stages can be identified as follows:

The “Me, Me, Me” Stage

In the dependent stage, an individual is focused on “me.”  “Feed me, clothe me, make me comfortable, make me happy;” me, me, me. This emotional stage is appropriate for newborns through childhood and early adolescence. Babies cannot do anything for themselves, and adults should provide all their needs.

However, it is not appropriate for an adult to be focused on “me.”  Yet it is easy to observe residents who complain, “They won’t bend the rules for me,” “No one invited me to eat with them,” “I don’t like where my assigned parking space is,” “People aren’t nice to me,” etc. This is not a team player and will likely not be in a leadership position. This type of person is so self-absorbed, that contributing time to a cause, like serving on an association’s board, is foreign to them. If they haven’t “grown up” emotionally by the time they are 60 years old, they probably never will. They are, and will most likely remain, very draining people (VDPs), and probably need professional help to move out of this stage. The person in this stage is more likely to whine rather than bully.

The “I Know it All” Stage

Children start moving into the independent stage at about two years old when they learn the word “no.”  This stage is characterized by “I” and is with us through the teen years. “I can do it (get dressed, tie my shoes, cross the street) myself,” “I can choose my own friends,” “I don’t like being told what to do,” “I know it all,” etc. The focus is on their strengths, which they brag about to everyone. Because this stage is basically insecure, they are unable to admit any weakness or lack of knowledge. However, they will gladly focus on your weaknesses. If you don’t know what that means, just observe your children or grandchildren in middle school. They are awful to each other.

As an adult, a person in this stage will be able to see what is wrong with everyone else, but not themselves. They would prefer to straighten out those around them rather than take responsibility for their own actions and emotions. There’s a “me versus them” attitude; they are not team players. The reasons for leaving their last job or resigning from their last volunteer position will sound like this:  “I told them what to do and how to run the place, but they would not listen to me.” 

Unfortunately, this category has more adults in it than either of the other two. A board of directors often has several members who have the “me versus them” attitude; who think they know it all. They believe no one else has experienced what they have during their lifetime. They do not have a teachable spirit. The person in this stage could be the bully.

The “Three Heads are Better Than One” Stage

In our early 20s, we are supposed to move into the interdependent stage. That stage is characterized by a “we” attitude. In this stage, we are able to objectively assess our strengths and weaknesses, and we are not afraid to acknowledge the strengths of others.

An interdependent person will say, “You have strengths in areas I don’t, and I have strengths in areas you don’t. Why can’t we put our strengths together and make a stronger whole?”  The interdependent director understands we are all individuals with specific abilities. The director in this stage has learned that no one can know or do everything, but everyone can do something. By working synergistically, as a team, everyone wins. A great team member is emotionally mature; interdependent. It is highly unlikely this person will be a bully. By putting together a group of interdependent people, you have a complete and powerful team that is capable of fulfilling goals.


Betsy Barbieux

Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM

Florida Cam Schools

Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, guides managers, board members, and service providers in handling daily operations of their communities while at the same time dealing with different communication styles, difficult personalities, and conflict. Effective communication and efficient management are her goals. For more than 15 years, Barbieux has educated thousands of managers, directors, and service providers. She is your trainer for life! Barbieux is the author of Boardmanship, a columnist in the Florida Community Association Journal, and a member of the Regulatory Council for Community Association Managers. For more information, contact, (352) 326-8365, or


Part Two of this series will focus on minimizing Stress and building Team Support by learning how to intentionally communicate.