If I Only Had the Noive – The Cowardly Board Member

September 2021

Is your board prepared to make the hard decisions?  Like the cowardly lion from Wizard of Oz, some condominium directors lack courage and sense of purpose when facing demanding situations.

Successful communities elect directors focused on making good long-term decisions despite opposition from less far-sighted individuals.  As a group they are effective at financial management, communication and interpersonal relationships.

Sadly, far too many communities fail to attract and elect such qualified individuals.  Primary qualifications to serve as a director can be a willingness to volunteer and please.  Many turn out to be cowardly directors whose desire to avoid conflict prevents them from making good decisions.

Cowardly board members, like the cowardly lion, are motivated by fear.

Loss of Friends

Directors know when their election came about because of friendships they strive to maintain.  Decisions unpopular with friends and neighbours can create unwelcome friction even when in the best interests of the community. Directors less focused on good decision making place a higher priority on maintaining friends.

Increasing Condo Fees

Increasing condo fees creates more conflict than almost any condo-related matter.  Nearly everyone wants more for less. Some communities seek ways to have others pay living expenses by deferring necessary expenditures to some future date when “others” will be responsible. Directors having campaigned on reducing condo fees find this can’t be done without sacrifice.  Rather than admit they were mistaken, decisions can be directed by short-term cost cutting that will have to be reversed at greater cost.

Managing the Condominium Manager

It is easier to allow a condominium manager to do as they please without oversight. It takes more work to establish policies, procedures and systems to ensure things get done correctly.  It takes effort to confirm policies, procedures and systems are being maintained or utilized.  Boards putting in this effort encounter fewer problems.  They are able to spend more time on long-term planning rather than putting out fires or dealing with immediate concerns.

Fear of Controversy

Controversy, or conflict, is a major source of stress. Residents can at times be vocal, even abusive, when they want to coerce directors into decisions without proper consideration of facts. To be on the receiving end of this abuse verbally in meetings or anonymously in writing, and subject to public accusations in social media, is not uncommon in some communities.  Directors lacking in confidence and fortitude prefer the easy route of making “safe” decisions less likely to cause conflict.  They can be less supportive of effective decisions based on sound advice and information.


Those lacking in courage, brain and heart are rarely effective condo directors.  Be sure you attract, then elect, competent and capable individuals to manage your home.