Managers’ Commandments

Managers’ Commandments

By Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, CMCA / Published March 2021

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Many of you may remember the words of wisdom former Dallas Cowboys coach, Bill Parcells, gave before Tony Romo retired.

     Parcells’ words of wisdom might be applicable to community association management if you think of the individuals involved in managing your community as a football team. What follows are some of the positions and players:

  • Quarterback—Manager
  • Coach—Board president
  • Team—Office staff
  • Offensive Coordinator—Board members
  • Offensive Line—Vendors and outside contractors
  • Defensive Coordinator—Attorney
  • Defensive Line—Accountant, engineer, insurance agent, banker, maintenance personnel
  • Owner—Homeowners
  • Fans—Renters

     Now, think of these 11 commandments in relation to managing your association:

    1. Press or television agents or advisors, family or wives, friends or relatives, fans or hangers on. Ignore them on matters of football; they don’t know what’s happening here.
               Community association management can be a lonely world. No one understands what you do and why you put up with all the stuff you do. Don’t take advice from someone who doesn’t understand the job you’re a part of or doing.
    2. Don’t forget to have fun, but don’t be the class clown. Clowns and leaders don’t mix. Clowns can’t run a huddle.
               Take seriously what you do. After all, you are managing a multi-million (billion) dollar corporation. But don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up, take a deep breath, and do what you have to do. Act so people respect you.
    3. A quarterback throws with his legs more than his arms. Squat and run. Fat quarterbacks can’t avoid the rush.
               Be a walk-around manager. Don’t stay in the office all day. Be visible. Make friends with your residents and board members. Everyone gets suspicious if you keep yourself hidden away.
    4. Know your job cold. This is not a game without errors. Keep yours to a minimum. Study.
               Don’t forget to get your continuing education credits. You need 15 hours every two years. And don’t cheat yourself. Take time to go to a class, learn from other managers, and network. Join your local, state, and national managers’ associations and groups. You can’t brainstorm by yourself!
    5. Know your own players. Who’s fast? Who can catch? Who needs encouragement? Be precise. Know your opponent.
               Know your employees, volunteers, and vendors. Understand everyone’s job, plus your own. Maintain good relationships.
    6. Be the same guy/gal every day, in condition, preparing to lead, studying your plan. A coach can’t prepare you for every eventuality. Prepare yourself, and remember—impulse decisions usually equal mistakes.
               Anticipate and plan for disasters. Have your procedures manual up to date, your list of vendors current, and your staff educated, informed, and trained for predictable situations.
    7. Throwing the ball away is a good play. Sacks, interceptions, and fumbles are bad plays. Protect against those.
               You won’t always have all the right answers. And you aren’t expected to be perfect. Admit when you have made a mistake. Correct it and learn from it. When an employee makes a mistake, correct him privately, show him how to fix it, retrain if necessary, and don’t bring it up again.
    8. Learn to manage the game. Personnel, play call, motions, ball handling, proper reads, accurate throws, play fakes. Clock, clock, clock. Don’t you ever lose track of the clock.
               Most managers have few employees and volunteers, if any. They rely on themselves and their vendors to get everything accomplished. With so many documentary and statutory deadlines to manage, ask for help if you need it.
    9. Passing statistics and touchdown passes are not how you’re going to be judged. Your job is to get your team in the end zone and that’s how you’re going to be judged.
                Budget, budget, budget. It’s important to stay within your budget. But spend whatever is necessary (even if that means going over budget) to maintain and protect the value of the property while enforcing the governing documents; those are the primary goals.
    10. When all around you is in chaos, you must be the hand that steers the ship. If you have a panic button, so will everyone else. Our ship can’t have panic buttons.
               Disasters, emergencies, crises, and other issues cannot cause panic. Plan for what you can and keep your bearing for everything else. Panic, anger, and fear won’t help the situation. Be cool. Stay calm. You can fall apart later. You’re going to have good days and bad days. Be the same person on both days and control your emotions.
    11. Don’t be a celebrity quarterback. We don’t need any of those. We need battle field commanders who are willing to fight it out every day, every week, and every season and who lead their team to win after win after win.
               Not everyone will agree with you! Neither will you be liked by everyone! But you can gain their respect if you remain professional in your dealings with them. Never engage in politics, gossip, or taking sides. Being objective is more important than being popular.

     Finally, there are thousands of licensed managers in the state of Florida, hundreds of whom report being happy, healthy, and wise and who have been at their properties for 15–20 years. They love their jobs and their residents, and their residents love them. Maybe Bill Parcells got his commandments from those successful managers. 

Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, CMCA

Florida CAM Schools

     Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, CMCA, 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. Since 1999, Betsy has educated thousands of managers, directors, and service providers. She is your trainer for life! Betsy is the author of Boardmanship, a columnist in the Florida Community Association Journal, and a former member of the Regulatory Council for Community Association Managers. Subscribe to CAM MattersTM on YouTube. For more information, contact, call (352) 326-8365, or visit