Strategies of Success The Psychology of Good Management

Property managers have a lot on their minds. There are board meetings to attend, legal issues to wade through, phone calls to return, emails to answer and a constant parade of maintenance issues to contend with at any given time. The job is tough -- especially if the person with the job is interested in going above and beyond the call of duty. What are the qualities of a good property manager? And what makes a good manager great?

Fred Prassas is currently serving as president of the Chicago-based Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), a nationally-certified organization for real estate management professionals. Prassas says that fundamentally, a good manager has a strong grasp of leadership and organization -- after that, the other pieces fall more easily into place.

Leadership & Organization

“Managers have to have a strong sense of leadership because they’re working with such tremendous diversity,” Prassas says. “There are boards, staff members and vendors who are all looking to you - a good manager can direct the process.” Prassas says that while “the board is the boss,” a competent manager is always able to make decisions that are in keeping with the wishes of the residents. In addition, leadership qualities usually rub off on the other employees in the company. “The ability to create a team and teamwork-oriented environment is very important,” Prassas adds.

But leadership wouldn’t be of much use unless it was executed with organization in mind. “When you’re dealing with things like project management, accountability and staff management, the person in charge needs to be one who can handle it all in an orderly way,” says Prassas.

Gary Wilkin is founder of Wilkin Management Group in Mahwah, New Jersey and has served as the company president for more than 25 years. Wilkin agrees that a good sense of leadership is the main ingredient in a good manager.


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  • I am president of my co-op board. There are areas where our management company needs improvement. Can you recommend an assessment tool, i.e., report card, that our Board of Directors can use to measure performance; and thereby review with the managing agent ?
  • We believe out management is being taking money for years. How can I find a lawyer that can help us COOP owners ? OUR building has no money at all 170 + apartments
  • I have a question. Is it the role of management to tell the super what settings he should use for the building? Or is it soley the responsibility of the super and board of Directors. We budgeted for fuel with an assesment and yet management insists on keeping the heat settings below D?
  • What can be done... advisory committee recoomends a man and woman of the year contest to take place in their condo. the vote of the Board members is split...only because their is a preduuce against the chair od the committee.
  • what happened if the manager ignored all the shareholders meeting, the shareholders have a lot of questions regarding with the unexplained expenses, and all the money that are missing, the building is on debt right now that there is about $300,000.00 missing,
  • The building managers generally "robs" the co ops by charging excess fees and expensive contractors 2x,3x or more. In a few years if the board is not watiching their reserves, it will deminish to nothing. What we need to do is that boards of different co ops need to network and share resources. Most of the time the board is isolated in their little world.
  • I am a budding property manager for privately owned residential apartments in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. I found this article very informative and helpful. Thank you!
  • all these comments are useless unless someone is reading and responding to them. any feedback from comments left by DACGardens or Queens co op?? Would be helpful.. thank you!