 FACT: We all judge others. It can be over something as simple as Susy taking a break for too long or a neighbor who INSERT JUDGMENTAL STATEMENT HERE. I am constantly reminding myself to steer clear of judgment, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always easy. I mean if some random guy walked up to an INSERT CUTE CUDDLY THING (like a kitten) and punched it, I’d judge that random guy so hard . . . while calling the cops and probably trying to save said CUTE CUDDLY THING. But despite that unlikely scenario, I really do try.

I read this article a couple of years ago by Psychologist Tara Brach that really stuck with me. It went a little something like this:

Imagine you are walking in the woods and you notice a little dog. The dog looks cute and harmless, but when you approach the dog and reach out to pet it, the dog snarls and tries to bite you. The dog no longer seems cute and your immediate response is fear and possibly anger. Then, as the wind blows, the leaves on the ground get carried away and you see that the little dog has one of its legs caught in a trap. Now you feel compassion rise-up in place of the anger. You know it became aggressive because it is in pain and scared.

So often in this industry we deal with people who are angry and upset and it feels like they are taking everything out on us, their community leaders. It becomes difficult to not take it personal, but I guarantee that 8-9 times out of 10, it’s a situation where they have their leg stuck in a trap and they just need a little compassion.

 People want to be heard. This is nothing new, in fact it’s basic Conflict Resolution 101, but think about this for a second - How frustrated would you be in a situation where you had questions and/ or concerns but felt like you had no voice? How about unimportant, ignored, insignificant, angry, or even feeling like something is being            theories get started within a community.

Most issues with angry owners can be resolved quickly and peacefully if you just allow them to talk and show them that you HEAR them            with them. Reflect or paraphrase their concerns back to them “I’m sorry to hear that you have been reaching out to the homeowners association for months and still haven’t received a clear answer to your question, I can see how that would be frustrating.” There is no better feeling than that of being heard and understood.

 Your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes (a.k.a. empathy) is one of the most important skills you can have when navigating down the rocky path to resolve a disagreement or misunderstanding. Empathy very much ties into the listening aspect as well. “I’m so sorry to hear about your ailing father. It sounds like you had to sacrifice a lot of your time and energy to make sure that he was taken care of. It must be hard having to juggle that level of responsibility AND have time to keep your yard in compliance with the HOA’s requirements.” At the end of the day, we are all human and regardless of our position within our communities, we still have to go through rough patches in life just like everyone else; and let’s  shoes for a moment.

 This is something that I feel is important across the board and the added bonus is that you will have a lot less stress by practicing it. I am a people pleaser. I’m sure that most of us are in this industry. But being a people pleaser doesn’t mean that we have to drag ourselves

         make others happy. When I was first starting out in my professional          never said no, more than that, I didn’t look at the task at hand and my time realistically, so therefore I was constantly setting myself up for disappointment. I became really tired of apologizing and making  I was speaking to “happy”. At the end of the day all of my apologies meant nothing because they were constant. The reality was that those people would be content with a transparent answer rather than what they wanted to hear. So with this revelation, I decided to     tell someone that you think you could get them something by this  

 As I mentioned before, communication will alleviate most issues within a community. As a community association manager, I can do my job so much better when I know what is going on within the communities I manage. Even at my best, I am only one person and that means that I cannot be everywhere at once. I must rely on my service providers, board members, and owners to keep me informed with updates on maintenance projects, compliance issues, and even   

 When someone seems like they are being stubborn or unreasonable, they’re most likely reacting to the information they have available to them . . . or in many cases, the information they were provided but never actually got around to reading. Take a moment to find out what their knowledge is on the issue at hand (using your            outlined within the association’s governing documents and why it is important that they are followed. It also helps to actually locate  this will leave you with a greater possibility of saying the wrong thing. Doing so will make you look like you don’t know what you are  It always helps to insert a statement showing that it’s a mutually beneficial relationship and that you are there and willing to listen and help. “I really appreciate your cooperation to bring your yard back into compliance. Here is my direct phone line and email, so that if something like this arises again in the future, and you are unable to tend to your yard for a few days, you can reach out to me and I can make the board aware of the situation.”

And lastly but most importantly . . .

 It’s ok to mess up. The important part is being humble enough to admit to your mistakes and do what it takes to correct them. Some of the most important lessons in life come through “failing”. When you realize this and begin seeing these times as ways to improve, you will be able to move forward. It’s when you focus on the negative aspects that you remain in that instance and believe me, it will fester. Negative people are emotionally disabled by failure because they let it define who they are.

Using the skills and tools outlined above will help you navigate through those difficult situations dealing with negative people.  you can demonstrate and teach others how to behave in an appropriate, positive and professional manner. 17

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