This article was contributed by John Sons, Director of Training & Marketing Strategies at Burlington Capital, Properties. Thank you, John!
What a year 2020 has been. Natural disasters, a pandemic, economic uncertainties, politics and so much more have increased the levels of stress and anxiety in our environment. With the challenges that life throws at us, it is important that we be mindful of our mental health and the mental health of those around us. It is important that we are able to understand and appreciate fact that it is okay to not be okay. Equally as important is knowing what resources are available to help someone through difficult and challenging times.
Several years ago, I was asked what part of property management I found to be the most challenging. After a pause to think about the question and my response, it came to me that the most challenging part of property management was managing the people. Yes, managing the people. By that I meant that one must maintain the proper frame of mind to accommodate residents/prospective residents. Managing employees and our interactions with co-workers is another part of the process. Establishing and maintaining relationships with supplier partners is crucial. Meeting the demands and expectations of the corporate office, while understanding the support that they offer can also be a struggle. But, at the end of the day, you cannot properly manage the aspects of all these people without managing yourself.
Managing yourself through the stress and anxiety of personal and professional life can become overwhelming. Understanding when you and others need help is key. Are you easily aggravated and/or confused? Do you have an irritated tone when speaking with others? Are you emotional and/or forgetful? These are just a few signs that you may need to check your mental wellbeing. Many people just pass these things off and anticipate these things to go away or get better on their own. Do you see these characteristics in someone around you? A co-worker, family member or friend may exhibit some of these same traits. If so, these could be signs that mental health treatment or intervention may be necessary. It is said that 20%, if not more, of U.S. adults battle with some form of mental illness.
Residents and prospective residents require a great deal of understanding. The stress of bills and paying rent are overwhelming for some. Residents have the have the same stresses that we all have in professional and personal life. Finding a new home, packing and moving are huge stress creators as it relates to prospective residents. As a property manager, you must be understanding and empathetic.
Being a property manager also carries the weight of providing strong and steady leadership to your team. Employees all to often bring a certain level of stress to work with them each day. Unfortunately, those employees that do not carry their weight or contribute to accomplishing the team’s goals can produce stress and anxiety to their co-workers. The property manager must be able to identify these issues and resolve them in a calm, professional manner.
Supplier partner relationships are very important to our industry. They to are often stressed about meeting quotas, clients not paying invoices in a timely manner, supply chain interruptions and circumstances beyond their control. They, too, must be able to balance this stress and anxiety. All that said, supplier partners can also offer solutions to problems and assist in bring resolutions to a property managers stressful day. A mutual understanding in the property manager/supplier partner relationship is key.
Expectations established by the corporate office and ownership can sometimes be overwhelming. While the intention is not there, these expectations can produce high levels of stress and anxiety. A property manager should be able to manage their team and themselves to meet the goals set. They should also understand that the executive leadership team is there to provide support through difficult and challenging times.
What about you? If you do not manage yourself correctly, you are not going to be able to manage those around you. You must be able to identify when things are not right. While property mangers are often thought to be “superhuman”, the fact is they are human beings with a lot of weight on their shoulders. Property management is a job that requires empathy, understanding, resilience, strength and so much more. That is a lot to undertake and it can, if left to do so, take its toll. Always be mindful of your own mental well being so that you can remain strong for those around you and yourself.
Once the need for mental health help has been identified, the next step to take can often be confusing. Simple things such as hobbies, cooking, exercise and meditation can often be simple and immediate forms of intervention. However, should mental health symptoms worsen, it is important to seek a higher level of treatment. Mental health professionals can assist in diagnoses and treatment. Do not be afraid to speak with someone. These professionals identify causes of mental health disorders and will help you set goals for treatment.
There are several mental health resources online. Below are a few that I like to share:
There are also many mobile apps and YouTube videos that can assist with meditation and various other forms of stress relief. Remember, it is okay to not be okay. Just remember to know when to seek help for yourself or someone around you. Stay happy, stay well, stay strong!