“...We gather here today at the human resources department of Acme Property Management Company to bring together John Smith, property manager, with the building and board located at 123 Anywhere Street. If nobody objects to this arrangement, we now pronounce this property manager and this building united!”
It might sound silly, but the relationship between a property manager and a building and its board really is like a marriage in many ways. In this partnership, you have a building (filled with residents who have personalities all their own) and a manager. Like any couple, every building has its own needs. Every manager is an individual who does things in his or her own way. Of course you can’t forget about the board of directors, who have their own perspectives and set of expectations for the managing agent (think of them as the sometimes overbearing in-laws).
Bringing these parties together and making each personality and set of expectations work is like bringing together two people to see if they hit if off. If they do, it could be a match made in heaven. If they don't—not so much. If a manager’s style is at odds with a client community’s expectations, friction is bound to develop and the relationship—and by extension the building itself—will eventually suffer. It can all end in a messy breakup and the need for the board to start looking around again for its next property management relationship.
“Every building has different needs,” says Greg Carlson, a property manager and president of Carlson Realty, Inc. in Forest Hills, “so the chemistry has to be right.”
According to business management experts, there are many management styles: one manager may be described as a shark—more forceful and aggressive—while another is more of a turtle, taking his time solving a problem. Both of these styles can have their positive and negative sides. For example, a turtle might take too long to solve a problem if the board needs a manager who makes quick decisions. A more shark-like manager might be perfect in a larger building, where there is a chance for more conflicts, but perhaps that style might not work in a smaller, less formal building.