When most people think of leaders they think of a ship Captain barking orders at their crew, as they sally forth into the eye of a storm.
However, in today’s digital era this is not the case.
Over the last two decades, leadership has changed. We’ve moved from the autocratic leadership style of yesteryear to a more collaborative, people-orientated approach to leadership – which is no longer ordered from above, but rather, powered from within.
This is especially true for leadership in property management. The rise of remote working, for instance, has emphasised the importance of leaders trusting their people to work autonomously toward a common goal, without the need for constant monitoring.
It’s this notion of empowerment, rather than smothering your employees, that’s integral to leadership in the property management industry. By understanding how you can adapt to this new way of working, you can become a successful leader and get the most out of your team.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of this leadership jargon? Don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 leadership tips for Property Managers, which you can bring to your daily working life to empower your team, slay your KPIs and inspire ‘future leaders’.
1. Lead don’t manage
There is a lot of overlap between leadership and management. Both are crucial to the success of any property management business, however, they have key differences.
Leadership is about motivating people to understand and believe in the vision you set for the company and to work with you to achieve your goals.
General Dwight Eisenhower summarised leadership perfectly when he said:
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – General Dwight Eisenhower
Where management differs, is that it is more about administering the work and ensuring the day-to-day activities are getting done as they should.
Management is much more hands-on than leadership, but both coexist to achieve the common goals of the business – which is why it’s essential to have managers and leaders.
2. Lead with the carrot, not the stick
You’re probably thinking: “Why are they talking about carrots and sticks?”
Stay with us, because what we are talking about is rewarding and recognising employee achievements, rather than criticism and punishment.
Leading with the carrot is all about tapping into that feel-good factor and creating a positive environment at work. Doing so will motivate your team, engender more employee satisfaction, employee retention and help to achieve business success.
37% of employees consider recognition the most important method of support from their leaders, which is why it’s essential to make your team feel appreciated and celebrate their success. After all, their success is your success.
Just keep in mind that if you’re going to adopt the ‘carrot’ approach that you shouldn’t be too relaxed. It’s still important to lay down the law from time to time if you notice performance dropping. It may not come naturally to have these difficult conversations, but that’s what makes a good leader a great one.
3. Lead by example
Everyone has heard the old adage “lead by example,” but what does it mean in the context of leadership?
Whether you like it or not, if you’re in a leadership position people are watching you. Do you want to be the kind of leader that spouts all of these inspiring visions for success, but whose behaviour says the opposite?
Your team looks to you to lead, so do exactly that. You need to show your people the way and they will follow. For example, if your vision is to achieve a more collaborative workplace, then get on the floor with the staff and collaborate on projects together. It’s easier for others to see your vision when you’re already exemplifying the right behaviours and they will try to emulate this behaviour.
Leading by example does require a lot of self-awareness, so when you enter work each morning ask yourself: “Am I setting a good example for my team with my behaviour right now?” If the answer is no, then change your behaviour. You’re not always going to get it right. We all have days when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed or slip up at work, but knowing that and striving to always be better is intrinsic to being a leader.
4. Treat your people as leaders
If you want to get the most out of your people you need to show that you trust them and the best way to do this is to treat them like leaders.
Former Nuclear Submarine Captain, David Marquet, explained this “leader-leader” approach to leadership in his book Turn this Ship Around! Marquet reframed the thinking of every member on his ship, so they would think for themselves and not just do as they’re told. This model proved successful, as Marquet was able to create an environment where thinking naturally occured, which gave the workers the framework they need to feel empowered.
In the same way that Marquet ‘turned his ship around’ in regards to leadership, Property Managers can, too. You just have to be willing to give up control and empower your people to make decisions and come up with solutions. You just need to be there to show them the way.
5. Be a good follower
Aristotle once said: “He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.”
The same holds true for leaders today. In order to be an effective leader, you need to know how to be a good follower, as they are able to remove their ego from the equation.
The egotism of being a leader comes from the sense that their position is crucial for any kind of success. This is not exactly true, because in actuality 80% of an organisation’s success comes from reliable team players. It’s for this reason that you need to let go of your ego and give your team the space to communicate between themselves.
If you can remove your ego and follow, then you’re already on your way to becoming a better leader.
The property management workforce is changing and so too is the way that we lead. Gone are the days of a top-down approach to leadership, it’s time to embrace this new style of people-centred leadership, so you can empower your Property Managers and work together toward a common goal.
Did you find these tips useful? Make sure you share them with your favourite Property Manager.