Managing People Intangible Skills Have Tangible Benefits

 The responsibilities of property managers include a wide array of tasks, from  the physical to the administrative. While many of these jobs involve concrete  things—like sending out monthly bills, filing paperwork, or going to meetings—equally important is managing the people involved with the building. That  includes everyone from the building’s staff, to the residents to those on the board and committees.  

 At the same time, a manager needs to deal with employees working for his or her  own company, such as bookkeepers and individual property managers. The manager  may be dealing with employees who were hired by a previous management team, and  possibly some who have seen a number of management companies come and go.  

 Keeping everyone happy and harmonious is not always an easy task. Many property  managers face uncooperative boards, a dysfunctional staff or unhappy residents,  and it’s up to them to keep everything working. “Some red flags … are when board members don’t answer emails or phone calls when the manager needs a quick decision to be  made or answers after the fact,” says Denise Lindsey, a property manager and vice president of Edison-based  Access Property Management. “Another is board members that do not show up for board meetings, or are  consistently late. Many times, if there is not a quorum of board members, votes  cannot be taken and a whole month may go by without an important issue solved. When board members have personal agendas, that can take away from the business  of the association, too.”  

 “The fact that unit owners are willing to serve their community is a terrific  thing. However, once in a while you will see an owner join the board with some  type of personal agenda,” Bob Rogers, community manager for Taylor Management in Whippany, agrees. “A good manager/board can see this pretty quickly and make it clear to this new  member that they have a fiduciary duty to serve the community as a whole and  not just what works best for them. Another characteristic that I see once in awhile is board members not listening  to their professionals. Whether it is the association attorney, manager,  engineer or auditor, they all have valuable input and are likely better versed  on a particular subject than the board member.”  

 Every building seems to have its own methods of human resource management and  conflict resolution for managers dealing with dysfunctional, apathetic, or  chaotic boards and buildings, and as long as it works, no way is the wrong way.  

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