Is it possible that some people enjoy sowing seeds of discord, creating conflict and drama, or setting a “small brush fire” with partial truths, and then standing back while the fire takes hold? I submit that indeed there are. In my experience, some people need drama. If it is not happening; they will create it. What drives this type of behavior, and how is it manifested in community associations?
There has been a steady coarsening of the American culture, and we need not look much further than our local, and national elections to see how polarized our country is at this stage in our nation’s history. Community associations are microcosms of the larger outside political, social and cultural climate we are currently experiencing. There is an undefined mistrust of the board of directors, committees, management, neighbors, vendors, guests and even the delivery people!
There is, and will always be, a small percentage of the population inside and outside of community associations who are chronic complainers, malcontents and troublemakers. It’s a given; however, recently I have become aware of a new adaptation of agitator that seems to engage in conflict as sport, entertainment and amusement.
This new-to-me type of rabble-rouser automatically takes the opposite position on virtually any subject almost before it is completely uttered! There is an almost perceptible crouching,…tensing of the body as one is communicating a position. Before the last syllable is out of one’s mouth the other party is immediately dismissive and proceeds to outline the reason for rejecting the offer, solution or compromise often without any background information or relative experience on the issue! It is utterly fascinating. I am sure I am the only one who is experiencing this kind of exotic behavior. [Sigh].
I had just such an experience recently. The argument against my proposed solution to a problem was immediately discounted as too expensive and time-consuming, although I had not yet shared either the cost analysis or the completion timetable. I stood there in stunned disbelief; shaking my head trying to comprehend what was happening. As I looked at the other party, it became evident that this was a duel (no swords, or feather hats, mind you) of wills. I promptly surrendered. “The decisions are all up to the Board of Directors” I said. If I make a suggestion and it is declined, I simply make a note for the record and move on.
No bruised ego, no whining, no contest.
Their disappointment was palpable. What? No argument; no pushback (no sport)? Nope. My response was: “You win. Let’s talk again when you’re ready.”
Endeavor to persevere.
Tanoa Lynne Poirier is the Managing Principal at Poirier Enterprises Inc., specializing in the management of community associations, commercial and investment properties, and individual residences in South Florida.
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