One of the most important aspects of property management is human resources. Managing relationships with all kinds of people, from contractors to tenants, is just as important as managing buildings.
In fact, property managers ranked communications, problem solving and interpersonal skills as the three most important areas of knowledge for performing job responsibilities, according to IREM’s Real Estate Job Analysis Executive Summary 2015.
The report, conducted every seven years, surveyed 1,415 managers across all asset types. The 85 per cent of respondents who said they manage people, including the 15 per cent who said they do not, rank people skills as more important than industry-related knowledge about maintenance, finance, marketing and leasing, and other operations, confirming that “real estate management is still essentially a personal service profession.”
Courses like the Real Estate Institute of Canada’s Leadership and Human Resource Essentials teach property managers these key skills. Whether they want to take the course to become a Certified Property Manager or simply to become a better communicator, the tools acquired are invaluable.
This two-day REIC course covers 10 essential elements of dealing with employees and managers. It begins with a self-evaluation to identify an individual’s leadership style. This assessment shows students the areas and skills they should focus on throughout the course, and the evaluation is revisited at the end.
“When they leave, they have an analysis of areas they need to work on, books they should read or courses they should take,” says Suzanne LeValley, course instructor and seasoned property manager. “It’s a starting point to look for more information and build skills they don’t currently have.”
Another key tool the course offers is called “job analysis,” which prepares managers for recruiting and hiring purposes. Discussion revolves around the requirements of a job and what communicative or technical skills are needed. This knowledge shows you how to properly recruit and train, and conduct an ethical and legal interview process. Students also learn how to build an employee handbook to start workers off on the right path.
“Once the hiring process is complete, before the employee starts, there are things you can do to engage that person in the company and show them what they can expect,” adds LeValley.
The handbook can then be used in the workplace to teach others how to manage employees. You’ll emerge as a leader, improving your overall company environment with what you have learned.
From there, the course delves into everything from problem-solving and effective delegation to developing compensation plans. Case studies help students grapple with real life issues that can arise, such as discriminatory concerns and dealing with those who inadvertently run afoul of labour laws.
Without overloading you with information, course materials are geared towards giving students what LeValley calls “those nuggets and bits of information you can take and easily adapt to any situation.” These tools help you become a calm decision-maker, especially during emotional highs.
“It certainly gives you some tools to take a step back from a situation and be able to evaluate it and make a clearer decision on how you will act as opposed to getting caught up in the emotions,” she says.
Students of the course feel more prepared when dealing with various personalities, something that is touched upon early on, during part of the leadership module on emotional intelligence, where students learn how to handle negative emotions in a constructive way.
These people skills are becoming more and more vital in the industry. From LeValley’s perspective, people who know how to adeptly manage human resources are critical for a functional working team; however, they are few and far between. The industry needs more property managers who are also effective communicators.
“I think that anyone in property management has to be able to communicate really well in writing and verbally,” she stresses. “We have to convey our ideas, and quite often, we have to convince people that a specific course of action is the right thing to do.”
Resolving conflicts while communicating to others in a clear, effective way isn’t easy, but such leadership skills can be taught. The first step is harnessing the self-awareness that comes from evaluating your unique leadership style and using it throughout the course. Understanding how your strengths and weaknesses impact others will help you meet the changing needs of the workplace, and push you to reach your leadership potential.
To learn more about HRS402 – Leadership and Human Resource Essentials, please visit: http://www.reic.com/COURSES/HRS402-Leadership-and-Human-Resource-Essentials