20 May

Questions Are Nuggets Of Gold

When managing your property staff, encourage them to ask as many questions as possible. In general, people are afraid to ask questions because they think it makes them look less qualified. However, you must listen and treat each question like a nugget of gold. As a property manager you need to train your staff on the ins and outs of your business, but if they are not sure about something, encourage them to ask questions. Otherwise, acting without direction may have serious ramifications!

Hearing questions before an action is taken should be like music to your ears, when compared to hearing about a mishap or a mistake made because they didn’t ask. For example, would you want to risk to an employee’s safety because a team member failed to ask a question about proper safety procedures? Also keep in mind that when something takes longer to do or makes your staff work harder, don’t scream at them for asking, “Why must it be done this way?” and respond with an “it’s my way or the highway” type response. Instead, explain that it is for the greater good of the property, the building ownership, or that it is a requirement of the insurance policy. Make it clear to everyone involved why there are certain processes and procedures in place. In so many cases, if people do not understand the reasons, it can create confusion and problems. Life is hard enough without being caught in the trap of not dotting those I’s and crossing those T’s. Not only does it hurt the individual, when the issue catches up to them, but it causes hardship to the building owner, the company, the customers, and all of your coworkers as well. If people are not sure, they need to be trained to ask! Also remind them to think about every decision they make and visualize all of the outcomes.

Encouraging questions also helps to iron out any miscommunications. If one person is not clear, maybe nobody is clear, but they too, were afraid to ask. By encouraging questions everybody learns. In turn, this allows communication to improve across the entire organization. For example, the failure of staff member to ask a question pertaining to the interpretation of a vendor contract or a clause on a certificate of insurance can cause serious financial hardship to the property owner. The outcome of this example could be very serious and completely avoided if your staff stops, thinks about the value of a question, and asks!

In my career, the most destructive employees I have ever encountered were those that did not ask questions. If someone stops asking me questions, it is a “Red Flag.” As property managers, it is our job to be available to the team, but we must also recognize those employees who are failing to question or inquire when conditions or situations are not typical. It is no different when you need to ask a question of your supervisor or building owner when you are not crystal clear about a subject or issue. Every issue property managers come upon have so many variables that it is almost impossible to know everything. Keep an open line of communication and embrace the nuggets of gold that come from your employees. The motto should always be “If you aren’t sure? Ask!”

“More content available at All Things Property Management by Buildium, industry leaders in Online Property Management Software.”

02 May

Does Your Property Manage You?


Do you manage your property, or does it manage you? This should be at the forefront of your mind every day. This question is meant to keep you on track and focused. Why? Because property management is an industry that can make or break you! As property managers we are the ultimate in multi-tasking. We know that anyone can become a property manager, but the ones that truly standout and differentiate themselves are the ones that manage their building. Not the other way around.

There can be constant interruptions and challenges throughout any given day. The day starts out fine until you get a call about a flooded property, or an unexpected customer complaint. Now you need to drop what you are doing and attend to the crisis at hand.

As you begin to tackle this new challenge, it is best to keep reminding yourself that you manage the building, the building does not manage you! When the flood hits, do you have a contingency plan? Why is the customer complaining? Analyze the issue and address the problem. The number one solution is to be proactive. Do all you can to prevent these issues from happening again. Manage it and do not just react to it!

When an issue arises, it must be broken down into the smallest components in order to find the reason or cause. Once it has been solved, it is time to develop a new approach or plan so that it can be prevented in the future. This can be as simple as more training in a specific topic, or even just determining if the task should be outsourced rather than performed in-house. Whatever the solution, it needs to be developed, implemented, and then monitored. If a solution is developed but it is never put into action, or if it is put into place but no one follows up on it to make sure it is being implemented correctly, it will do no good and create more headaches for you later on down the line.

For instance, if there is a flood, what caused the flood? Was it the lack of preventative maintenance, human error due to lack of training, a service contract failure, etc.? The point of managing is to anticipate and not wait for matters to arise. The entire premise of good management is to think about “What If” and anticipate everything. Constantly ask, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” or “What if this happens?” Then consider another important question “How should I prevent it or react if it does happen?” If you are prepared, it is no longer a crisis or interruption. Instead, it is just another part of the normal multi-tasking routine. Remember, the goal is to manage your property, not for the property to manage you!

“More content available at All Things Property Management by Buildium, industry leaders in Online Property Management Software.”