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The 7 best qualities a PM-focused principal should have

19 January 2015 Elyse Perrau

Principals with a passion for PM share the attributes every real estate principal should have to make their PM department flourish.

With the divide between sales and PM divisions still a problem at large within the real estate industry, principals need to change their way of thinking.

Raine & Horne's business support and development manager for property management, Lauren Kirk, said that as a principal - even if you have plenty on your plate - it’s important not to forget the importance of property management to your business.

“A strong property management department can be your lifeblood in good times and bad,” she told RPM.

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Set goals and targets

Ms Kirk said principals should be setting clear goals and targets for their property management team.

“Ensure accountability by conducting weekly team meetings and regular 'one-on-ones' with PMs to review key areas of the business, such as revenue, arrears, commission rates, growth, losses etc,” she said.

Work closely with your property management team

Realmark executive director Anita Percudani said one of the most important things she thinks a principal needs to do is to work very closely with their property management team.

“What I actually do when we conduct our meetings is I ask our team members to contribute what their needs are with training and education,” she told RPM.

“Most principals tend to put their property management departments in the back corner and just give them a desk and a pen and say, 'here you are, do it'.

“Whereas I put mine at the front of the office and I ensure that we work together as a team and that they do have a voice.”

Identify strengths and weaknesses

Property Management HQ director Kelley-Ann Seaton said principals need to have an awareness of what their staff are good at and what their staff are not so good at.

“I have got staff in my team where one girl may hate routine inspections, say, so why give her that job if she won’t do a great job of it because she hates it?” she told RPM.

Adopt a learning culture in your business

Ms Kirk said a commitment to ongoing training and a long-term focus will allow property managers to cope with change, and will continually improve your office systems and procedures.

“On the learning front, innovation and technology should be a priority for your business, and over time you might find that this approach assists you with recruitment and retention of staff,” she said.

Differentiate the property management skill set from sales

“Recognise the difference in skill sets between property management teams and sales teams – don’t make the mistake of applying a ‘one size fits all’ approach to both the people and systems used in property management and sales.” Ms Kirk said.

Emotional intelligence training

Ms Percudani said another area that principals really need to focus on is the emotional side of being a property manager.

“Property managers are constantly being faced with a barrage of negativity. They do feel like they are not of value sometimes by their clients or by their principal,” she said.

“I feel that it is important for a principal to understand when they are experiencing challenging times and when they are feeling unloved and feeling like they need some extra attention.

“One of the initiatives that we have done at Realmark is we introduced a series of training and coaching around emotional intelligence, which has been a great success.”

Be patient and understanding

Ms Seaton said principals should be a stress ball for their staff so they don’t fear coming to you with a problem to talk it over.

“However, say a property manager has a problem: I would make them come to me with the problem but also come to me with the solution,” she said.

“That way there has been some thought put into it and you want them to learn along the way.

“You want their brain to be trained to resolve a problem without going for help every time.”

The 7 best qualities a PM-focused principal should have
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