DRAWING THAT PROVERBIAL LINE IN THE SAND

Allow me to preface this particular entry with a disclaimer. Not all of my writing has to do with present tense or my current community and/or staff. I have been doing this a really long time and there are times that thoughts cross my mind from prior experiences. Or I have other property management professionals that reach out with topics or questions or what not. In turn spawning a blog entry. So with that disclaimer, let’s move forward with this particular topic…that proverbial line in the sand.

We are together as a team more than we are with our family most days….but as property managers we do have to draw the line somewhere and I speak from experience…..working in an office of two, becoming close with your staff is not only a necessity it’s unavoidable.

I’m not even sure you would call it crossing a line, because again, it’s unavoidable. Obviously, short of having a romantic relationship, most staffs become extremely close to one another. Again, we are together more than we are with our families. But how do you draw that proverbial line in the sand? Well from my past experience of, I guess you would call it a mistake, you keep your management role extremely clear in all instances.

You can talk with your staff, you can share stories (heck, we all have one). But ensure they are extremely clear on your role as their manager. And if you make the same mistake I did (and I think we have all made it at least once) and you become close with a staff member that doesn’t seem to understand that you are still their manager, and they begin to take advantage of the relationship you’ve built, what do you do?

What do you do after countless conversations to correct bad behavior, countless attempts to save this individual’s job? You let them go. One of the hardest things that we have to do and we have to suck up and just do it because it’s part of our job and we’ll lose ours if we don’t fix the problem and fix it fast.

But then you wonder, was it partially your fault? Did the individual feel as though they could take advantage and run you over because of the relationship you’d built? Maybe. But this where you draw the line in the future. Be nice. Be a leader. Be their cheerleader and support system. But draw the line in the sand early on. Let them know you have expectations and guidelines, not necessarily corporate made, but your own expectations as their leader. That’s ok to do…you don’t have to always blame corporate. Stand up for what you know is right in leadership and guidance. Just as you would your children (if you have them) you have to set boundaries with your staff.

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