Reluctant Leaders - A Successful Sectional Title Leadership Transition
By André Boersma
In the intricate world of sectional title schemes, ensuring effective leadership is pivotal. This article recounts an intriguing and genuine case study of a small sectional title scheme confronted with a unique challenge: the election of a chairperson from a group of newly elected, yet reluctant, trustees. It examines the problem-solving approach adopted by these trustees and how they navigated their way through this predicament, offering valuable insights into shared leadership dynamics within a body corporate.
A body corporate with 16 members had an established practice of electing three trustees, who met monthly, with a chairperson who remained unchanged over the years. At the last annual general meeting, a new set of trustees were elected. However, they hit a roadblock when none of them were willing to take the responsibility of being chairperson. One of them had to take the office, as required by Prescribed Management Rule (PMR) 12(3), but despite their willingness and competence in managing individual portfolios such as maintenance or secretarial duties, none felt confident enough to take the chair. Even after much discussion, none of them changed their minds. Acknowledging their shared problem and guided by the outgoing chairperson, they combed through the relevant legislation, regulations, and rules to find a solution.
They found PMRs 18(3) and (4) useful in defining the role and functions of a chairperson at meetings. They also realised that PMR 12(7) allows for changes in the identity of the chairperson during the term of office. Furthermore, PMR 9(d) provides for the appointment of external individuals for the chairperson or other supportive roles.
Armed with this legal understanding, the trustees took a collective decision. They agreed that the decision-making responsibility would be shared by all trustees, and the chairmanship would rotate to allow each of them to grow more comfortable with the role’s responsibilities.
Furthermore, the trustees resolved to enlist the outgoing chairperson as secretary and treasurer. He agreed to use his experience to provide the necessary support and guidance to the new trustees on legislation, regulations, and rules, while also assisting in finalising current and unfinished matters.
This inventive approach paid off. The new trustees showed remarkable willingness to learn, fostering a positive attitude and building their confidence. Most importantly, they undertook to take their turns at being the chairperson and to remain focused on serving the members and acting in the best interest of the body corporate.
This case study offers an insight into collaborative leadership and resourcefulness within sectional title scheme management. It underscores the importance of collective decision-making, shared responsibility, and leveraging existing knowledge and experience, even when confronted with leadership reluctance. It serves as an example for other sectional title schemes grappling with similar leadership challenges.
André Boersma, Paddocks Club member and chairperson of a Sectional Title Scheme.
Hermanus, May 2023
Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 18, Issue 5.
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.