Are You That Apartment Supervisor That's Always Crazy Frazzled? Here's How To Stop It!

Q & A with Barbara Savona

Q: I'm a regional supervisor with a million things on my plate and being pulled in so many directions. Sometimes I feel that I have to be the final say on everything, and double check everything. I don't want to micromanage every detail, but I'm afraid that if I don't, things will fall through the cracks. Add to that, my crazy travel schedule, and by the end of the week, I am fried. Any suggestions? -Crazy Frazzled in Atlanta

Many of us often get bit by that, "I have to touch it, and I have to micromanage it bug”. It's no fun when you find yourself in that pattern. Here are a few suggestions to help when you start to fall into that dangerous rut.

Manage Outcomes Instead of Activities

Micromanaging Bug

First, as a leasing manager, regional supervisor, or just a leader in general, stop focusing on activities. So many times we think in terms of to-dos. But who has time to manage all that? No, thank you! 

YOU'VE GOT YOUR OWN TO-DOS TO MANAGE. DON'T ADD YOUR INDIVIDUAL TEAM'S TO-DOS. 

Remember the quote, "You can do anything, but you can't do everything!" So starting today, stop trying to do everything for your team. 

Instead, you want to focus on leading your team towards desired outcomes. What are the end results that you want your teams to produce? At the end of the day, you want them to get excited about the big picture. It's your job as the team leader to cast a vision. This, in turn, will drive your team to push toward getting those results. 

Ok, I'm about to drop a little tough love on you here. Your team's methods might be different than yours, but that's absolutely okay. The methods may vary, but as long as everyone is geared to reach the end goal, you are in good shape! 

Calling BS on the Idea That Everything Has to Go Right All the Time! 

The second point is contrary to what a lot of people talk about. It’s identifying what is an acceptable loss. Now I know we're in an industry, and a society as a whole, where we think "Hey, there are zero acceptable losses. We have to be amazing at every single thing that we do." But I call BS on that. That's just not realistic.

So for you as a leader, you have to decide what are your non-negotiables, things that you want to hit an amazing marker on and what are the areas that have a little more wiggle room. You don't have to share that with your team, but you internally need to know what those are.

Example: Someone may be slower to get a technical process down. Yes, it's frustrating, but you are okay with having to show them a few more times than ideal. On the other hand, someone occasionally is rude to your residents. That may be non-negotiable and result in an immediate write-up. You decide. Your non-negotiables are your non-negotiables. (No apologies needed here, boss babe!)

Empower vs Faux Power: Which One are You?

Next, you want to leverage what you do, by empowering your employees. We talk a lot about that, and a lot of people think, “I do, I empower my employees.” But what I find is a lot of us faux power our employees. And when we faux power, we get faux satisfaction, It's fake, It's not real. 

The easiest way to find areas where you might be doing this "faux power" is by looking for bottlenecks in day-to-day operations. What are issues that your employees always have to talk you about, or ask your approval on? Or what are things that cause a lot of hiccups? It might be a hiring issue, an old policy issue, it might be things that are happening across your entire portfolio.

I'm writing about this because I totally struggle with this one myself. As a business owner, I have the tendency to control things. It's hard, but here's the deal. You can't be at all places at once and the longer you are in the multifamily business, you realize, you don't want to be. So the only way to give yourself a little sanity is to give out some big doses of empowerment to your team.

Once you identify those bottlenecks, you can get to work on clearing them up. The sooner you free up those bottlenecks, the sooner you’ll free up some serious time (and mental energy)!

The fourth point is one of my favorite lessons that I learned from a book called Mastering The Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish. Leaders always need to ask this one question, "Do we have the right people, doing the right things, right?" Now don't get stuck in the rut of keeping non-performers. You want to always be evaluating your people, your processes and the magic combo of doing those things extremely well.

We want to ask this questions often, but especially when starting a new quarter or a new year. Evaluate your team and their performance regularly. The quickest way to lose the frazzled supervisor vibe is to have a team full of rockstars. You know the types, the ones that want to be awesome at their jobs. They don't need the old carrot and stick routine. These are drivers, performers, get-it-done types. 

Know Your Highest Contribution as a Leader

So we've focused on our team, now it's time to look at you...the crew leader, the boss babe, the head honcho! What do you bring to the table?I promise that question wasn't to assault your value. Even though we haven't even met, I know you bring a ton to the table. You wouldn't be where you are now (and you wouldn't be reading this article) if you weren't gold. But here's the problem. When you have a ton to offer, sometimes you offer too much. And sometimes it isn't enough of the right stuff. 

Hang with me for a sec. First of all, ask yourself:  What is my highest value that I, as a leader, bring to my organization?

Now here is where it gets real: Is that where you are spending the majority of your time?

I know for us as supervisors, or leaders, you can run the report, you know how to do inspections and you can lease an apartment. The bottom line though is, is that your highest value contribution? I don't want you to think that I'm saying "Oh, don't get your hands dirty," because I don't mean that at all. When we're short-staffed, or when we're in emergency mode, as a supervisor or leader, you're going to be all hands on deck. But the problem is, if you find that you are operating in emergency mode all the time, then you're not bringing your highest value contribution, and something is wrong. So that's why you're having that feeling of always being fried. And that is no bueno, baby! 

Take an honest evaluation of your work. Ask:  

  • Have I cast a clear vision as the team leader? 
  • Am I focused on activities or driving outcomes? 
  • Do I expect an unrealistic, zero-loss from my team members? 
  • What are my non-negotiables? 
  • "Do I have the right people, doing the right things, right?"
  • What are my highest contributions to our company? 
  • Where is my time being spent? 
  • Where can I delegate? 

Ok, Crazy Frazzled...These are just a few tips to help you take back a little bit of your time and mental energy. For now, if you put these in place, it will really help you avoid being fried at the end of the week. Remember it is not just about the work, it's about you as a whole. Who wants to show up 150% to work only to feel like a limp noodle when they show up for family and friends? Not me, friends! 

Next up: Check out 9 Seconds to Grab Your Prospects Attention!