One difficult aspect of the property management business (or any business for that matter) is knowing how to quickly and correctly handle the problems that are guaranteed to come up.
Leaking sinks, overflowing toilets and roof leaks… all these things are annoying but easy to fix compared to resolving an angry disagreement between two human beings! The fact is that MOST of the challenges in property management have nothing to do with the “property” but everything to do with the people! I should have studied psychology in college because people management is a key element in effective property management.
Here are just a few things I’ve learned from challenging encounters with upset people (good folks that are temporarily just not quite themselves):
- Recognize their humanity – They may be acting rudely and inappropriately right now but it can help to remind yourself that “who they are” is not “their present nasty behavior”. Separate the behavior from the person. If they are acting like a jerk, just remember… you’ve done that too! You are valuable and so are they, it just may be difficult to see that right now.
- Ask yourself “What is really behind this?” – Frequently there is something else going on “behind the scenes” that you are unaware of. It could be job loss or pay cut, divorce, death, sickness of a loved one… and that is what is fueling the emotional fire burning in the person before you. Go deeper. Don’t be afraid to ask “Is there something else troubling you?”
- Avoid assumptions – Yes, it’s tough to avoid jumping to conclusions sometimes, but try to leave your mind open a crack for what Paul Harvey would call “…the rest of the story”. Maybe the tenant isn’t avoiding you, they just don’t know that you have been calling them because they dropped their phone in the toilet and haven’t got their new one in the mail yet!
- Consider that you may be the one that is wrong! – And if that is the case, admit it! Everyone respects honesty. Sadly it has become a rarity in today’s business world. Babe Ruth admitted that he struck out a lot in his career… do the same.
- Let it go – After everyone has had their say, an agreement has been reached and the argument is over, shake hands. It is hard to remain angry with someone when you are touching them in this way. Then let it go. Remind yourself later that what happened earlier is over and you are moving onward so that if you run into your difficult person in the Safeway on Saturday you can smile and say “Hi there” without malice.
I could go on but let me just say this… in my office we try to pursue what is fair and what is right. “But”, you ask, “doesn’t the definition of what is fair and what is right vary from person to person?” Well yes, it does, and without meaning to be lofty or “preachy” let me just simply and directly say that at Red Roof we try to fall back upon biblical values and notions as to what rightness and fairness truly are when the going gets tough for us in our work.
These are the foundational elements that we use at Red Roof Property Management in our attempt to quickly and correctly handle the “people problems” that occasionally arise.