I often write from the perspective of the property manager because I still actively practice the profession. As a management company owner, and board member, I frequently receive information from attorneys, air conditioning, roofers and general contractors addressed to the Board of Directors. Many associations are self- managed and the managers in these communities are largely isolated from the community discourse that occurs between staff in management companies and industry networking groups. It is my hope that these blogs offer a different perspective from a seasoned manager:
1. As the Property Manager, the Board of Directors transfers their responsibility to me.
Incorrect! At no time, does the Board transfer their responsibility to the manager. The buck stops with the board. Period. Carriage return. New line. (some of you will get this later). The manager is tasked with the day-to-day operations, accounting, collections, and covenant enforcement, and we serve at the pleasure of the board. Members of the board are advised by the manager; however, the decisions are made by board vote or by specific instructions from the president, or designee.
2. Owner complaints are a direct reflection of my job performance (or lack thereof).
Not necessarily. You must not take every complaint personally. Evaluate each complaint from the perspective of both manager and owner. If it were you, or a reasonable person, would this be a valid issue to complain about? Ask yourself if the complainant is a chronically dissatisfied person, or is it a valid concern that requires immediate attention. My recommendation is to address problems early. Don’t allow the problem to grow as it may be perceived as a lack of caring. Rather, take the opportunity to respond and craft a solution. The more success you have, the more confident you will become. Reach out to fellow managers if you are encountering an issue for the first time. We are happy to share and offer solutions that have had positive outcomes.
3. I have to work more hours during the week and weekends to show the board that I take my job seriously.
Seriously? Stop sacrificing your personal time and allowing work to take the highest priority in your life. Ask yourself if you really need to work the extra hours or forgo family time to complete whatever task(s) are pending? The answer is (likely): No. What tasks can be delegated or prioritized (a. immediate, b. mid-term, and c. long-term projects that can be completed during slower periods). You may always re-prioritize as needed.
You have an important, responsible position. It is a high-stress environment. You are on call 24/7, and in high demand. Because of the nature of the job, you must try to find the balance between your loved ones and your career. The burn-out rate in our industry is high. Please discuss the job expectations with your management company and/or the board before you accept the position. Do not accept a position that requires more of you than you are prepared to give. You’ll be happier and enjoy a longer career if you take hold of this concept early in your career.
Endeavor to persevere.
Tanoa Lynne Poirier is the Managing Principal at Poirier Enterprises Inc., specializing in the management of community associations, commercial and investment properties, and individual residences in South Florida.
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