Ask A Property Manager with Teresa Henning + Christy Mickel
Thursday, May 31, 2018

Section: News

Teresa Henning – Sr. Property Manager, American Assets Trust 

“How do I prioritize the many important tasks that fill my days?”
What IS the secret to doing everything that needs to get done in a mere workday?  As every property manager will tell you (insert crickets here, hysterical laughter or uncontrollable sobs), its’ different for each of us. There are, however a handful of secrets (not so much) that will help you get through those days.
 The secrets are:
• Knowing your team, your tenants and your property(is) inside and out,
• Delegating everything that you can to your team – they’re ready, willing and able,
• Time management – it’s an old one, but a good one, and still so valid,
o Prioritize your tasks - get the big ones knocked out first,
  •  Focus on critical deadlines.  You’ll raise the ire of your accounting and lease administration departments if you start missing those monthly and quarterly dates,
o Coordinate time slots for checking emails.  I can’t tell you how many days have slipped by with nothing done other than me responding to notes that others could have handled (see point #2 – Delegate),
  • Lunch - away from your desk,
  • Exercise – away from the office,
  • Leave – before Jupiter crests the Eastern horizon (oops, too late),
  • Sleep – 8 hours a day (work in progress),
  • Eat – healthy, colorful and fiber-rich foods (stress eating – ACK).
Ultimately, I can only share what’s worked for me, and I don’t always hit the mark.  If you stay focused and elicit the assistance of your team and your peers, you’ll get the job done.  Every day is different, but isn’t that the exciting part of what we do?  Just jump in and swim!

Christy Mickel, Cushman + Wakefield

"What is the best way to deal with a difficult tenant?"

In my many years in the industry, I have had my share of difficult tenants, I have come to learn this: The Angry customers must be called and controlled while the lethargic ones must be energized. To do so, I have been implementing the following seven guidelines over the years:
  1. Be Objective: Objective language can be your best friend when communicating with difficult people and it is often the only way to get the responses you want. Trust me, it is helpful outside of work too, with difficult neighbors, children, and even friends!  When present objective facts and rely on what you saw and heard, then the true situation become clear and undeniable
  2. Use Examples: use examples to illustrate what you mean.  Be clear about names, dates and other specifics. You will need them later!
  3. Commit to the accuracy Principle: Be accurate. Always. Regardless of whether you are dashing off a quick email or writing a review, use exact supportable and objective language
  4. Take advantage of venues: All forms of messages are not equal. People retain considerably more of the written word than the spoken word if they read it. Still, in face-to-face discussions, you can get cues to help you refine or otherwise position your message, whether a quizzical expression, a smile or a subtle shake of the head. Here are the few cues that can help:
    1.  Written message:
i. The first few words are critical: they are the ones people remember and will set the tone for the rest. 
  1. Spoken message:
i. People hear only every 5th words or so, that means you need to repeat key points throughout the discussion
ii. Watch your body language.
iii. iii. Don’t forget to taiii. Don’Don't forget to take control of the environment around you. Be mindful of who you meet and where you sit. 
  1. Follow your vision: There is no question that difficult people are a pain to be around, especially if you see them day after day. They create hostility uneasiness and problems. Half the time they are the problem. You may not like them.  But in the end, all that matters are how they affect your day and your work. So when taking a difficult person to task, conjure a vision of how the perfect situation would look. That vision can be small or big scale. When communicating with a difficult person, connect his/ her behaviors to your vision. This will turn a complaint into a more manageable situation.​
  1. Keep Records: Records events, the days, times they occurred – you may need them later.​
  1. When in doubt:  Do you find difficult people overwhelming and frightening?  Don’t make the two biggest mistakes: using guesswork and avoiding the situation. Instead, talk to who you think could the best resource to assist you in dealing with the difficult tenant
Most efficient communication skill that I have acquired over the years: listen, listen, listen.  Let them vent and listen, then show empathy. Remember their venting to you is not personal. Take your ego out of the equation. Remain objective!!!!!