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MASTERING COMMUNICATION: Exploring the Five Levels of Effective Delegation

Community management involves delegating operational tasks from association boards to management companies. To ensure seamless delegation, it's crucial to establish clear communication regarding the level of authority granted to others. This can involve policies managed by the manager or regular board reports.

Irrespective of the chosen delegation approach, the key lies in communicating expectations among all parties involved. Here are the five levels of delegation tailored for board members and managers that should be communicated and agreement upon for great transparency:

Level 1 - Follow Board Instructions: Follow board instructions precisely without deviation. This level is suitable for routine activities like reviewing owner requests that the board has already evaluated.

Level 2 - Research and Report: Conduct research, gather information, and present findings. The board will deliberate and convey their decision for you to proceed. This level is often used when the board needs more details before deciding if they want to undertake a project not previously planned.

Level 3 - Research and Recommend: Research, outline options, and offer your best recommendation. Present pros and cons, aiding the board in decision-making. If the board concurs, you receive authorization to proceed. This level is apt for decisions like contractor selection.

Level 4 - Decide and Inform: Make a decision and inform the board afterward. Here, the board trusts your judgment to conduct research, decide, and keep them informed. This level provides autonomy and keeps things moving quickly and smoothly.

Level 5 - Act Independently: Make the best decision autonomously, without the need for reporting back. Full trust is placed in your actions. This level, backed by clear policies, signifies the most efficient method of management.

Delegation hiccups often stem from misaligned expectations between the board and manager. Clarity is vital, as no one can read minds. Our individual experiences and biases influence our actions. Without explicit expectations, decisions are based on personal judgment which don’t always align with the current or, more commonly, new board members.

Our foremost advice is to communicate the desired level of delegation. Such communication ensures the board's expectations are met, preventing unwelcome surprises.

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