It might seem that being an extrovert would be a key personality trait for property managers. They frequently have to interact with both residents and staff. And not just interact—anyone can handle a “Hi,” or “Nice weather we’ve been having,” or “Did you see whatever sporting event was on”—but also deal with issues that come up, manage people, delegate responsibilities, all that. And, sure, being an extrovert certainly couldn’t hurt (though there are probably very few jobs where being an extrovert is a liability, unless it’s a professional “Sit Silently and Don’t Talk to Anyone” Manager, but those positions don’t open very frequently). But that doesn’t mean that an introvert couldn’t thrive as a property manager. After all, some introvert traits include: enjoying observing detail, keeping emotions private and learning through observation. Those sound like pretty good property manager traits to me!
So if you’re an introvert, fear not! You could still be an excellent property manager. Here are some tips for success:
Wear something cute. If you don’t have to wear a uniform, then wear something you feel confident in or that frequently gets compliments. (Yes, this is a great reason to go shopping.) You’ll feel more comfortable—and more importantly, confident—interacting with different people, especially residents you don’t see that often or prospective residents, when you know you look good (and it’ll hopefully quiet that little monster in your head that is saying, “Why is that person smiling when he’s talking to me. Is he laughing at my Bill Cosby sweater? He totally is, right? Or, is it the mustard stain on the sweater? I knew I shouldn’t have had a hot dog for lunch. Wait, maybe he’s laughing at my hot dog breath…).
Be secure in your knowledge. You know the details for the upcoming resident event. You know if there’s going to be a change in how residents can pay rent. You know where you got that really cute top [see tip above]. People will be coming up to you all the time in your property management job, but it’s because you’re the authority. So really get to know your community, and know all the goings on. That way when residents or your employees ask you something, you’ll have an answer ready to go, and they can get back to whatever they were doing (which, bonus, will cut down on some small talk if people don’t have to awkwardly stand at your desk while you look things up).
Know that they’re “just people.” A million years ago, I wrote for a magazine where I would run interviews with celebrities. The first time I had to interview a famous person—a rock star I liked—I was freaked out the night before. “He’s just a person,” a relative told me. She was wrong on that account, of course—rock stars are gods stuffed in leather pants—but that piece of advice stuck with me, and interviews after that were a lot easier. No matter our titles, we’re all just people. Same at an apartment community; there’s no need to be intimidated by residents, even if they’re angry. Find out what the problem is, and solve it. And if you get anxious about talking to people while on the job, just keep repeating that mantra.
Do your job well and the rest will fall into place. Look, small talk is great, but at the end of the day, your residents would much rather have someone who takes care of the community, provides them with a nice, clean and safe place to live, and deals with their queries and requests. So, who cares if you’re not as gregarious as some of your colleagues. Plus, if people were chatting all the time, no work would ever get done (although we would all know what happened last night on The Bachelor, so there’s that). If you do your job well, the residents will be thrilled.
What are some other tips for introverted property managers?
-Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor