Whether it's demanding residents or unreasonable board members, maintenance headaches or a barely-under-control work schedule, a property manager is in a unique—and uniquely stressful—position. No one knows this better than the property managers themselves. What might surprise the managers, however, is that of all the items listed above, taking care of their own mental health and learning proper stress-deflation methods ought to be a priority as well.
"Property managers have a very difficult job," says Dr. Jonathan Kramer, a business psychologist based in San Diego, Calif., whose clients over the years have included plenty of stressed-out property managers. "They're engaged in this tug-of-war between residents, personnel, boards, and contractors. Managers really feel the squeeze. There are a lot of forces pulling them in different directions."
And just like a rubber band pulled too tightly, over-stressed managers can snap. "Stress can 'overload' anyone and affect their ability to functionnormallyin any capacity of their lives," says Anthony Oltean, an adjunct instructor currently pursuing his doctorate in social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "When people don't have an appropriate coping mechanism for their current stress, or their day-to-day stress becomes too great for their normal copingprocesses, anyone can become overloaded."
Lashing out verbally, emotionally, or even physically is a sure sign a manager is overloaded. Other signs of overload include neglected responsibilities and/or isolation—disastrous as the consequences might be, switching off the cell phone and disappearing for a day or two can start to sound really good to an over-worked manager on a particularly bad day.
In addition to those outward indicators of stress, don't forget about the havoc stress can wreak on a person's body on the inside, too. Increased potential for heart attacks, dangerously high blood pressure, erratic sleep patterns, and unhealthy eating habits are all serious health problems that grow from a person's inability to understand and reduce the stress in their life. The good news is, it doesn't have to be like that.