Property Management Professionals – Lessons Learned from an Insurmountable Task
Have you ever been given an insurmountable task to complete? Faced an insurmountable problem or obstacle? I’m sure most of us have at some point and I don’t think it matters if it’s at work or in our personal lives. What matters is how we chose to react and attack the problem.
I read a great story last week about one person who was given an impossible task to complete. Regardless of what he was up against, he got right down to business and tackled the problem head on; he used the right mindset (positive); believed in the support backing him, and dove right in.
Everyone thought he was a fool to think he could complete the task before him (and they said so – repeatedly), but he just ignored them. What’s interesting is what happens next. As he worked on the task, others in his community saw his enthusiasm, and it started to spread. Little by little each of his neighbors picked themselves out of the “mire” they had been living in and got to work. One by one they all joined in to help complete the task, each one tackling their portion with gusto. The atmosphere in the neighborhood went from dull and lifeless to electric, one by one faces lit up, spirits were renewed, and they came together as one group all because one man believed it could be done.
He didn’t have to bribe anyone, no fancy speeches were made, no one was threatened, and no guilt trips were put on the table. He simply got to work, never complained, and his positive energy spread from person to person like gangbusters.
I’m sure you are asking yourself what my point is…well, I do have one. My point is no matter what you are up against, no matter how impossible things may seem, if you will get the ball rolling, be positive (on the inside and the outside), I’ll almost guarantee others will see how you have responded to the task at hand and come to help!
I’ve seen it happen, whether it was with a team at a property, or with the residents at a property. It’s all about your attitude! It’s about how you respond to situations you are faced with and how you respond to and treat others. This doesn’t mean just now and then, it’s all the time, it’s an attitude you display regardless of the circumstances. It’s respect, poise, professionalism, character, and most importantly, it’s sincere and comes from your heart.
I had a manager once, who, for lack of a better term, looked down on his residents. He talked down to them and basically treated them as if they were not worth his time and efforts. I was doing a property inspection once and I asked him if he would let his Mother move into a unit that had just been turned. He said no, but he justified his answer (and I’m using the word justified very very loosely) with “what does it matter, they’re just going to tear it up anyway”. Well, it does matter, and I spent the next hour very nicely telling him why it did and what he needed to do to change his attitude. I worked with him every day on how to interact with the residents, on what a properly turned unit should look like, and most importantly tried to instill in him the need to respect everyone. After a few weeks, I went back out there, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did he listen to me and start looking at things in a positive light, the residents at the property were becoming involved in the community and the atmosphere out there had done a complete turn around. Units were well kept, and so were the grounds. More residents were paying rent on time, basically, the darkness had lifted and there was light on the property once again. As a side note, unit turn expenses dropped dramatically and resident retention was up about 20% over the next quarter. The residents started taking an active role in maintaining their community!
I had another property with an amazing team and each one of them always tried to be positive about things that came up at their property. I still think that property was built on a landfill (even though it wasn’t), if something was going to go wrong it went wrong at that property. I was a Regional Manager at that time, and we had a big inspection coming up, but being an affordable property funds were tight. The manager is amazing and in the 12 years I’ve known her, I’ve seen her get discouraged twice. Anyway, she got a deal on pine straw to do the whole property which included 30 residential buildings, pool, clubhouse, laundry, maintenance shop, basketball court, both playgrounds, and the front entrance and drive. It’s a huge property! Problem was they had 2 days to get about 800 bails put out before the inspection and the staff on site only numbered 4 and the landscaping company was booked and couldn’t help. She got out there and started spreading the pine straw herself, then the rest of the team pitched in, I drove down and pitched in, and if I remember right a few residents also pitched in to help. She didn’t ask anyone, we all just “caught” what she had – an infectious positive attitude and wanted to help.
Does it mean your positive attitude will always be infectious? No, there are always going to those people who just like to be negative about everything. Should that affect your outlook and attitude? Absolutely not! Your attitude says a lot about who you are, especially when under pressure or facing seemingly impossible tasks. It’s how you chose to respond, especially during the most difficult times, that shows people who you are…and that is contagious! Whether positive or negative (and please not the latter), how you react as a leader in your company does have an impact on those you work with, even if you don’t see it.
Today I want to challenge people in multifamily property management to make a sincere effort in portraying a positive attitude – no matter what you may be facing – when you are dealing with your teams be positive and supportive. It’s not easy but it can be done, and practice makes perfect. I’m confident you’ll start to see great results and just maybe feel a bit less stressed yourself.
Here’s a link to a great page on LinkedIn, it is Leadership First and they have some amazing insights for leaders in today’s business world. Well worth following!
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