It’s an unfortunate fact in life that positions of power and influence attract bullies.They bully either because their domineering personalities drew them to seek power in the first place, or because the influence a position gives them has made them grow to feel superior and invincible. When a person in a position of leadership abuses their power, it’s important to act. Not taking action against them encourages them to continue their behavior, and can also have serious consequences for the entire community if they get even further out of control. What is the best way to deal with HOA board members who are out of control?
Bullies on the Board
A bully in a position of power isn’t likely to keep their misbehavior confined to just being an aggressive personality. A person in leadership who intimidates or ignores anyone who gets in their way isn’t someone who respects either the rules or the responsibilities of their position.They likely wouldn’t blink an eye at violating association rules, or even laws, in order to keep throwing their weight around.
If a board member is getting out of hand or wantonly violating the rules, the most important thing to do is to take action as soon as possible. The further someone is indulged in his or her misbehavior, the more damage he or she causes, and the harder it is to rein them in.
Start by pointing out the misbehavior. Some people will back down at the first sign of actual conflict, and this may be enough to solve the problem. But, in cases where the offending party refuses to back down when confronted, it is time to take further disciplinary action against them.
Beating Back the Bullies
In many states, HOA board members have the power to strip officers of their duties and demote them. If officers of the board are abusing their positions, other board members can be the first line of defense against them and should not shirk away from the responsibility to stand up to them.
If removing an officer is not an option, or fails to keep someone in line, the next step a board can take is officially adopting ethics rules that specifically disallow the offending behavior. This puts the bully in a position where he or she will have to sign their name on a document saying their behavior is wrong.This will force either a change in behavior or eventually a loss of position for rules violations. Alternatively, if he or she refuses to sign it, thenit gives the people resisting them the chance to publicize the bully’s refusal to agree to a basic ethics pledge.
While the campaign against a bully should stay away from the realm of slander and using their own tactics against them, those standing up against them should not be afraid to take their grievances public and organize others to take action against them. If the board can’t, or won’t, deal with the problem, then the concerned residents should take action. By making the problems known, and organizing against them in the next election, residents of the HOA can make a stand against bullies by either shaming them into good behavior, or letting their own bad behavior get them removed from power.
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