I’m afraid to talk to you.

According to Gallup’s 2015 comprehensive study, 50% of Americans have left a job to get away from their manager at some point in their career.” Gallup is a company that has focused on employee engagement for decades. They know their stuff when it comes to why people give 100% at work, and why employees run for the hills or go looking for another job.

“Managers must have the courage and confidence to communicate with their team” – Lighthouse

There are tons of programs sold to companies today to help ‘fix’ managers and their low confidence and ability to talk with their team members. So I’m not here to belabor that or add to the conversation (at least not in this post).

What I find fascinating about this topic is extending it outside of the conventional space of corporate America and into the world of real estate. Property management, to be more precise.

Let’s talk about rental property managers for a minute. How many tenants leave their residence, or take a financial risk and shorten their lease arrangements, because their property managers are bad news?

And how do the property owners learn about their poorly performing managers? If they do?

Here’s a group of people who are responsible for:

  • keeping tenants happy
  • keeping good tenants in their residence
  • effectively and judiciously managing difficult tenants

As far as I can tell — and from years of both managing my own property and being a renter in several — rental property managers are a lot like corporate managers.

Some managers avoid calls, fall back on evasive even political non-answers, or even use curt, condescending and even rude communication patterns in email (or elsewhere). It seems like some just resolve to side-step conversations instead of meaningfully engaging renters in looking for the root problem of a their challenge and how they might solve it together.

What I’d love to see is some data. First, how is “success” defined for property managers (those who are property owners/managers and professional managers), across all types of residences: single family homes, townhouse, and apartments. What correlations exist between tenants’ stay and those managers’ tenure. I’d love to see analytics and variances, and if they exist, insights on regional and socioeconomic patterns, the managers’ [best or worst] practices, the types of residences they manage and the tenure of residents. I wonder how many property owners might like to see that, as well.

It feels like a No Duh principle to say, but barring factors outside their control, my guess would be that managers, in any such study, who treat their tenants with respect, empathy and interest likely have longer tenured tenants and great word-of-mouth referrals.

Hit me up if you know of any studies like this.

@tanyagm on Twitter.


Tanya Maslach Written by: