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Board Member Types: 'The Has Been', 'The Never Were' and 'The Wanna Be'

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By : John R Math    99 or more times read
Throughout the years we have seen these types of Board members in our community associations. They are that member who is on the Board of Directors for “other reasons” than doing what is best for the association. They seem to want to be on the Board to prove something to others and maybe to themselves and their families. They are, what I classify as the “Has Been, Never Were and the Wanna Be.” They are among us and see if you can identify past or present Board members with one of these…

1. The Has Been
The Has Been was someone who was a big deal in their former life before they came to Florida. They are a little lost and disorientated, as they no longer have the trappings of power and responsibility. These individuals will, whenever possible, make you aware of “what they were”. They gravitate to a Board of Directors to resurrect their past glory and to give meaning to their lives.

The Has Been can be very valuable to a community and to the operations of an association, as their business experience is always needed. Hail to this person as they provide value to Board of the Directors and to the association with their expertise. They can, however, sometimes forget that others are not their employees! Overall, you are lucky if you have a Has Been on your Board.

2. The Never Were
The Never Were can be a dangerous Board member to the association in that they want you to believe that they have a lot of experience doing “this sort of thing”, when in reality they don’t! They will take shortcuts, will not use good business judgment and will not rely on association professionals for advice. Why should they rely on anyone, when they have all of this expertise?

The Never Were probably cannot tell you exactly what they do for a living and they may not be up-to-date on their bills. Look out for this type of Board member as they can get the association in trouble and then suddenly disappear from the Board when things get sticky, “for more pressing matters”!

3. The Wanna Be
The Wanna Be has no experience in anything even remotely close to being on a Board of Directors of a community association! However, they do have potential to achieve and succeed as a Board member. They will sink or swim and pretty quickly it will be revealed whether they have it or not. If their potential is realized, they will blossom and become great and tireless leaders. They will wonder why they hadn’t done this sooner. They are fair, thorough and collaborate nicely with others.

If the Wanna Be is overwhelmed and not able to handle the responsibilities of the office, watch it and have a backup plan in place. These people are not ready to lead and you need to give them a “face saving” excuse to quit before everything crumbles down. Usually, these are the Board members that cannot, or will not make a decision. It is as if they are paralyzed, as though they are afraid to make a mistake. It is time for the rest of the Board to make a change if your leader is an “ineffective” Wanna Be.

We have all been exposed to these types of Board members in the past and I am sure there are more waiting in the background to serve in the future. There is nothing disparaging in my description of these people, it is just what we have seen over the years.

Finally, I just want to say, that at least these people that I just described, volunteered (for whatever their motivations) for their Board and that they tried to contribute to their association, and for that, they should be applauded!
As one of the oldest property management company specializing in community association management in Palm Beach County, Florida since 1988. Currently, APM provides management, maintenance, supervision, bookkeeping and administrative services for more than 130 community associations. Our Website Our weekly newsletter

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