FCAP Community—May 2022

FCAP Community

Published May 2022

     Florida Community Association Professionals’ (FCAP) training is offered on two levels. Level one consists of courses meeting Florida’s continuing education requirements for CAMs, and level two is the Florida Advanced CAM Studies (FACS) course. For further information about the more than 38 online continuing education classes available or to pursue the Certified Florida Community Association Manager (CFCAM) designation, please visit www.fcapgroup.com/membership/education-training/.

Marcy L. Kravitz

Micromanagement—Allowing the Manager to Manage

Encouraging the Board of Directors to Provide the Vision, Mission, and Goals! 

By Marcy L. Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM

     Editor’s Note: This is a two-part article. Part two will be published in the June issue and will examine helpful ways to move beyond micromanagement.

     All too often I hear from managers that they are so frustrated because they are being micromanaged. Many boards members are complaining that their fellow board members interfere with the day-to-day operations. As professionals, managers want the board to have the confidence and trust in them to allow them to manage. Boards hire management to perform the duties in managing the day-to-day operations. Boards are volunteers and have their own lives and their own responsibilities and should be able to come to a board meeting and make educated decisions. 

     Managers in Florida are licensed by the state. CAMs are responsible for implementing the decisions of the board of directors. Effective managers have a good understanding of the principles required to manage, such as human resources, contracting, financial management, project management, facilities management, governance, and the law, just to name a few. Effective boards set goals, govern, and establish responsibilities. They allow the manager to manage! 

     Most often, those that micromanage are individuals who fear that tasks will not get accomplished without their input and involvement. They tend to want control and interfere with the chain of command by giving direction to staff. This only creates chaos and confusion. 

     A professional manager will take control of the operations, provide an action plan, submit a weekly or monthly management report, and ensure that the service providers and staff are productive and are performing. 

     The board has the final authority and vote on contracts and services on behalf of the association. The board does not need to be involved in the day-to-day operations, details, policies, and procedures. The general rule of thumb is this—The board leads, and the staff manages. The board works in an advisory capacity. 

     Micromanaging happens for a variety of the following reasons:

The board needs to have a clear understanding of its role. 

     Board members are chosen because they are movers and shakers—they know how to get things done. If the board does not have a clear job description and outline of their roles and responsibilities, board members will roll up their sleeves and default to doing what they do best—getting things done. Without a clear understanding of the role of the board, they simply assume that is their role. Everywhere they look, there are things that could be done better, and because they think that is what their job is supposed to be, they pitch right in to help get that job done right. Very often board members micromanage because they think that is what they should be doing, and they have good intentions.

It is common that the board consists of people who really care and are experts in their field. It is also common that board members have their own self agendas. 

     We’ve all heard it said, “We need an accountant on the board, or an attorney, etc.” We invite members on the board to perform their duties as a professional in their field and not necessarily in the community association field, and then when they get in there and do what we’ve invited them to do, we often accuse them of micromanaging! Remember, if you invited them to act like staff, they are doing exactly what you asked them to do.

Tradition supports the mindset, and we remember the remnants of a crisis.

     If your board has just experienced—or is in the midst of experiencing—an emergency or crisis, they sometimes may have the need to jump in and feel that they need to make sure the association survives. For example, a board member has just resigned, a special assessment is required to fund a shortfall, or a staff member has created an issue. In times of crisis, the board may feel they have to act outside of their role as they may feel that they are the ones left to do so. 

     Once the crisis time is over, though, if the association does not have clearly delineated roles and responsibilities for the management vs. the board, it will be very difficult for that board to stop micromanaging. The danger here is that the memory of crisis becomes institutionalized, lingering long beyond the memories of just the current board members. 

     These residual behaviors are likely to be inadvertently taught to new and potential board members as they use these circumstances as an excuse to take over and take control. The board may tend to continue to function as if there is a crisis long after the crisis is over, and micromanaging is handed down—the narrative simply becomes “this is the way we have always done it.”

At the root of all micromanagement, there is fear. 

     Fear that if they do not do it, no one else will (or no one will do it as well). Fear that the association will fail and have horrible things happen to it. Fears about money, fears about what others will think of them, and fears of not being re-elected occur. 

     When individuals behave badly, it is usually because they feel their comfort or security is threatened in some way. When boards behave badly (and micromanagement is just one symptom of this), they are usually concerned about the health, safety, and welfare of the association. If you can keep in mind that boards micromanage because they care and therefore have fears and concerns, and not because they are power-hungry control freaks, then you will be better equipped to get them to stop.

     If you perceive that your board is micromanaging, verify your suspicion before taking corrective action. Identify some recent decisions you believe would have been more appropriately made by you or your staff. 

     Next, try to ascertain exactly why micromanaging is occurring. Run through the potential reasons and decide which causes are the most likely to occur. Make every effort to address them.

     Pull together the courage to draw attention to this general behavior first to those responsible, then to the board president, and finally to the entire board if necessary. If you work for a management company, request that your regional director call a meeting to discuss and review the issues, roles, and responsibilities.

     Describe which decisions you feel you should have been included in or responsible for. The board should not be meeting with service providers, calling on the attorney, or meeting with the staff members without the manager present.

     Indicate that you view it as part of your responsibility and authority and provide policy or agreement documentation that supports your position—your job description, policies, management contract, etc. Explain how the board’s action negatively impacts you, the budget, the association, and others. 

     Let them know that micromanaging is harmful to your relationship with the board and the association. Offer suggestions for how to do things differently so board and staff contributions are both optimized. 

     If your board has an unclear understanding of its role, or if its performance has not been reviewed with respect to that role for several years, now is the time.

There are several ways to approach the review.

  1. Agree to talk about it at the meeting with your regional director or prepare an orientation package with a code of conduct and make it required reading for each board member to sign off and acknowledge.
  2. You may want to include the association attorney to ensure that the board of directors’ roles are defined, and their authority is in line with their association’s bylaws.
  3. If your board’s problem is the result of an “we’ve-always-done-it this-way” mindset, your best offense is to review who does what and why. Ask, “Is this the best way to do it?” or “How can we improve our operational efficiency as both a board and staff?”
  4. If, on the other hand, your board’s micromanaging tendencies are a byproduct of your own leadership challenges, the best approach is to say, “Look, I know your direct involvement in things might have been justified in the past due to my style or lack of experience in this area; however, please allow me to consult with my resources, colleagues, and experts to find the best solution.” You would not tell your cardiologist how to perform your heart surgery!
  5. Allow the manager to understand and get to know what the needs of the association are. Discuss the agenda items and prepare an action plan/wish list and strategic plan. All need to be more effective and efficient in working as a team, which means putting forth a greater effort to let the board lead the way and allowing the manager to facilitate and prioritize and manage the staff.
  6. If the trust has been broken between the board and management, each group will try to flex its muscles and take control until someone puts a halt to it or it blows up in everyone’s face! Have a discussion on what the expectations are.

     A pilot does not get on the plane without a flight plan. As with a pilot, the association must first select a destination and determine the initial plan to get to the destination! 

     Marcy Kravit has 20-plus years’ experience managing community associations in South Florida. She has established a reputation as being passionate about service, driven by challenges, and undeterred by obstacles. Marcy is committed to providing five-star service and educating others in raising the level of professionalism in the industry. She works for Hotwire as director of community association relations. Marcy has earned every higher education credential offered by CAI and is recognized by Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) as a CFCAM. Marcy is a contributing writer to the Florida Community Association Journal (FLCAJ) and serves FCAP as their education program director. 

FCAP Member Spotlight—Löwe Royal Consulting

Tell us about yourself, your company, and how you got started in the business.

     When I, Carlos Pereira, arrived in the U.S, I studied mechanical engineering along with business administration. I came here hoping to work for a big company, but instead I started my own business. I also studied culinary arts in Florida. During my tenure, I was promoted and worked my way up, working with great people and in great places. Five years ago, I decided to open Löwe Royal Consulting with the vision of what the industry is lacking, which is a company that takes the weight off of the manager’s shoulders so they can do what they were hired to do—manage.

What types of staffing services does your company provide to the community association management industry? 

     Our goal is to take that weight from your shoulders and not only assist you with positions like servers, bartenders, bussers, runners, front desk, pool and beach attendants, and maintenance personnel but also to help you on every food and beverage aspect in the industry, such as P&L and purchase history analysis, menu development, costing sheets, menu engineer, training manuals, ServSafe® certifications, QA, etc.

What expertise do you have with recruiting in our industry, and what differentiates you from a management company’s recruiting department?

     My background is white-glove service, and this is what my company reflects—legendary service and standards. When we interview a team member, we focus on verbiage, posture, gestures and manners, and they all need to understand the level of service we provide.

If I outsource the staff, will I lose control over the management of the property?

     Of course not; we become part of your staff, your schedule, and your standards.

Can management and the board interview and approve the staff member before they are placed on the project?

     Indeed, our goal is for the managers and supervisors to feel comfortable with our staff. 

Will the same people be at my property every day, and what happens if someone calls out sick?

     We understand employees call out sick from time to time, but our team will secure another staff member to work the assigned position performing to the same standards.

Do you provide uniforms for the staff, and if so, do they include your logo or the association’s? 

     We do provide a basic dress code when management requests it of us. Most of the properties have extra uniforms to spare with the association logo embroidered on it. 

Do you perform background and drug tests on the employees? 

     Yes, we do. 

How do I communicate the roles and responsibilities with the staff?

     Our staff is well trained and familiar with the roles and duties of their job descriptions. However, if the supervisor needs anything extra, they will just request the employee to do it.

What happens if a staff member is seen coming out of a unit owners’ condominium while on association time?

     Our staff is properly trained to follow the rules of the association and if uncertain will consult with management before entering any resident’s units. 

What types of personnel do you provide and what is the fee structure?

  We provide the following positions: Concierge, front desk, pool and beach attendant, server, runner, busser, cooks, prep cooks, dishwashers, housekeeping, maintenance, and chefs. Rates vary depending on the location of the property along with being able to meet a competitive salary for the employee. Hourly rates start at $19.00.

What are the pros and cons of outsourcing staff? 

     There are basically no cons. All the pros are as follows:

  • Our markup is basically what the company pays to the FICA. 
  • You don’t need to do write-ups if you need the employee to be replaced.
  • With a single phone call, we will replace your staff with another staff member and move the previous one to another property.
  • Our staff doesn’t have a job description. They are there to assist, help, and work their roles.
  • You can always ask for more staff or reduce your staff based on the occupancy.
  • There is no contract to be signed. 

What type of insurance do you provide? 

  All criteria needed for the association will be met. We have our respective COI and legal documentation we can provide. 

What advice can you provide to a community association manager and board when seeking to hire a staffing company?

     We are here to assist and provide both the service and employees you need in order to help the board and management to run their business and focus on the bigger issues that could arise. Partner with us and leave your staffing needs in our hands, and we will deliver exceptional service.

     For more information on Löwe Royal Consulting, visit loweroyalconsulting.com.