The War for Talent

The War for Talent

By Betsy Barbieux / Published Oct 2015

The War for Talent


It has finally begun to turn around. The war for talent is coming back. From the perspective of some, there are not enough good managers to fill positions in community associations seeking them. But filling a management position with any manager will not work. Not all managers fit all positions and all communities are not alike. One size doesn’t fit all, so to speak.

Yes, all licensed community association managers must pass the same Florida exam to become licensed. But the state exam only tests to a base knowledge of statute requirements for voting, notices, elections, budgets and financial reporting, and minimum insurance requirements. There is far more to community association management than the base information required to sit for the state exam. The state exam does not expose managers to the processes and procedures for the actual day-to-day management of the community’s corporate business and property/facilities management.

“The cost of turnover is 150 percent of the annual salary” so says Robert Newland of Career Partners International. If that figure is even half correct, a board of directors or a management company cannot afford to hire without a well-thought through plan.

Board members must collectively exercise their management, leadership, and coaching skills in order to seek and groom the best manager for their community. This is a huge, sometimes seemingly impossible task to accomplish—collectively. It is a huge accomplishment for just one person to know the difference between management and leadership and coaching and have the wisdom to know when to use which skill. But collectively. . ?

Leadership is different than management. Management is different than coaching. Coaching is different than mentoring. Mentoring is different than tutoring.


  • Has a change strategy
  • Creates work teams
  • Motivating/inspiring
  • Sees the future
  • Satisfies basic human needs
  • Goal driven
  • Plays to win
  • Empowers
  • Fosters creativity
  • Views people as they can become 
  • Inspires, leads
  • Vision led
  • Future oriented
  • Customer focused
  • Welcomes change
  • Spends more time listening


  • Maintains the status quo
  • Fills positions
  • Controlling/problem solving
  • Sees the here and now
  • Controls by pushing
  • Process driven
  • Plays not to lose
  • Controls
  • Sticks to the rules
  • Views people as they are
  • Dictates, pushes
  • Systems led
  • Now oriented
  • Internally focused
  • Resists change
  • Spends more time talking


  • Asking open ended questions
  • Focuses on useful outcomes
  • Is non-judgmental
  • Sincerely listens
  • Reinforces positive behavior
  • Has the attitude and enthusiasm of—
    • Let’s GO!
    • What’s possible?
    • How do you see it?
    • What’s up?

Leaders focus on a person’s need for meaningful work. Leaders identify and develop new talent, recognize and reward significant contributors, design and redesign jobs to make them meaningful and challenging, and lead in new directions. Leaders lead people.

Managers focus on a person’s need to get a job done and make a living. Managers focus on tactical issues and follow procedures and fulfill roles within the current organization. Managers manage systems.

Coaches give private instruction on a particular skill or already known subject in order to apply, refine, or improve that skill. It is not assessing job performance. It is assessing where a person is and where they want to go. What skills or relationships do they need to get there?


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


Mentors (usually older) with similar experiences offer advice and guidance to a younger, less experienced person (who has asked for guidance).

Tutors give private instruction to a person in a particular subject to prepare for an exam, test, or competition. The person being tutored does not know the subject or is having a hard time grasping or applying the information/subject. Tutoring is about knowledge and information.

One community planned to hire a new manager to replace Jim who is retiring at the end of the year. The board decided to hire Charlie as the new manager and bring him on board three months before Jim’s retirement date. This timeframe gives Jim and Charlie time to work together. Jim will be able to lead, mentor, and coach Charlie so he can adequately manage the systems, policies, and procedures on his official start date. This board is using a four-point checklist—


The manager must fit the culture of the community, not just the job description. It is possible to qualify for the position but not fit the culture. Three months gives everyone time to see if Charlie is a “good fit” for the community.


The board started its search for a new manager six to nine months out from Jim’s retirement date. This gives them time to develop a job description, advertise the position, interview candidates several times, and make a decision. Once selected, the new manager will have three months to learn his role.


By spending the time and money to have Charlie work with Jim for three months, this board is investing in talent development. The board is building leadership into its culture. Good leadership skills impact productivity. Productivity increases the emotional engagement of most employees. Emotional engagement is more valuable than rational engagement. In other words, wanting to go to work is more valuable than having to go to work.


Boards that invest in their managers’ and employees’ professional development and education are wise. This community has included a license renewal/educational expense line item in its budget. This will pay for the manager’s required 20 hours of continuing education every two years and license renewal. Realizing there is so much more to learn than can be accomplished in 20 hours, this board has included extra funds to allow the manager to take more classes, participate in local, state, and national professional organizations, and earn the
credentials offered by these organizations. 

By using this four-point approach to transition to a new manager, this board stands a better chance of hiring the right person the first time. With this well-thought-out transition of managers, Charlie should be able to step in with very few ripples.