By Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, CMCA / Published October 2022
Recently, seasoned CAMs were brainstorming the needs of managers and some of the challenges they face. Part of the discussion centered on the following “how-to” issues:
What was interesting about this discussion was the challenges they struggled with the most weren’t issues related to finances, operations, insurance, legislation, or management. These challenges involved people. It wasn’t the budget shortfall due to inflation and rising insurance premiums, the massive concrete restoration project that was past its deadline, or the slimy pool whose homeowner had abandoned the property.
An observation about these challenging issues is that they involve two people or two sides of a relationship: the manager and the challenging individual, the manager and an uninformed or unethical board, the manager and a management company, the manager and the demands of others. Some of these are ethical issues, some moral ones, and some legal issues. There seemed to be unspoken questions like these:
With so many variables in these situations, there could be more than one way to handle each one. But there is one common dominator in these issues—the manager—and the common issue is something called boundaries.
Perhaps these CAMs need to try the skill of boundary setting—that is, defining your personal boundaries, knowing who and what you are responsible for, recognizing the boundaries of others, and when and how to say “no” or “yes” or “let’s make a deal.”
A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible (Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Zondervan Publishing House 1992). Boundaries are like personal fences; they define what’s mine and what is not. Like a fence around your yard, boundaries define me and what I take care of and am responsible for. They tell me what I am not responsible for. For instance, I am not responsible for the weeds and trash in my neighbor’s yard. Neither am I responsible for making others happy.
Healthy boundaries say I am responsible for my own thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and motives. I am not responsible for those of someone else. I may take their thoughts and emotions into consideration, but I am not required to make decisions just to keep others happy.
The following are several different types of boundaries:
Understanding boundaries will help you set limits and still be an effective manager. Boundaries will help you say “no” and not feel guilty or afraid. Exercising boundaries will help you manage your time, money, and emotions. Here are some boundary reminders.
Don’t just survive your people issues; thrive with boundaries!
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 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 at www.youtube.com/c/cammatters. For more information, contact Betsy@FloridaCAMSchools.com, call (352) 326-8365, or visit www.FloridaCAMSchools.com.