When a crisis arises in a building, however large or small, calling the super is almost as reflexive as dialing 911 in an emergency. After all, it’s the superintendent who literally holds the keys to a building’s successful operation—he or she is the captain of the ship, as it were.
Over the years, supers’ job requirements have changed, but the essence of the job hasn’t. A proficient superintendent is first and foremost a facilitator: they either know how to fix the problem or have someone on speed dial who does. The super handles the day-to-day tasks on behalf of residents and managing agents.
In order for boards and managers to maximize their relationship with their superintendent, they need to create a positive, mutually beneficial relationship, says Sean Wade, a resident manager with Manhattan-based AKAM Associates.
“Supers have a greater knowledge of staff performance than management or board members,” says Wade. “In order for a building to operate efficiently, the super must have autonomy over the staff. A chain of command is extremely important for staff members to function effectively.”
Changing of the Guard
With time comes change. A super who joined the ranks 50 years ago and hasn’t kept his or her skills up to date would find it hard to enter the job market today. If one considers the advancements and adoption rates of technologies such as email, cell phones and social networking sites, it is clear that the game has changed. Think old Yankee Stadium vs. new Yankee stadium.