Real Estate

The Three P’s of Property Management

I was talking to a business partner a few weeks ago. His line of business is not related to property management in any way. It is an extremely stressful career choice that only a select few can handle successfully. He owns a trucking brokerage firm where split-second decisions can result in huge profits or substantial losses. Yet he shakes his head in admiration for us front-line property managers.

Why, you may ask? His explanation was quite logical. Relationships within your profession are business to business. Property management relationships are emotional, and emotion is an unpredictable partner.

Property managers must remember that every interaction they have with their residents can turn into an emotional battlefield at any moment. When this happens, we must bring the interaction to an end. Many property managers do not receive enough education in conflict resolution or do not have the experience to resolve difficult situations.

We are told that we do not have to accept abusive or foul language, and I totally agree. What I do not agree with are some measures taken by some property managers to end the confrontation. I am not a conflict resolution coach, far from it. I could, at times, use a trainer or two myself. I always put myself in the resident’s shoes and ask myself, if that were me, would I behave differently? Very often, my answer is no. Think of the time you tried to return an item to a retailer.

As property managers, we need to remember that the issues we deal with are related to someone’s home, their sanctuary, their “castle” and sometimes they will go to great lengths emotionally to protect you. I believe that education is a path to conflict resolution. If you can educate an owner or board member to understand why something is the way it is, you can potentially divert their energy into positive action. Maybe it’s a deficiency in the Law, and then we can point them in the right direction to help affect change.

It is a long and often exhausting road to conflict resolution, but in Aristotle’s words “the roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”

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