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How To Go from a Manager to a Leader

September 15, 2023

Last modified on November 29th, 2022

What makes a great leader in the property management industry?

To find out, we interviewed up-and-coming property management and real estate professionals to see firsthand what they want and need from their higher-ups.

Based on our conversations, it’s clear that the next generation of property management professionals want people-leaders, not just managers. To better understand exactly what that shift looks like, we asked them a series of questions to help dig into the details and differences between management approaches.

Keep reading to learn more, or listen to the full  Top Floor episode here:

Approachability is essential for today’s property management leaders 

Since young property management professionals are often in the development stages of their careers, it’s no surprise that many of them said it’s important that their roles help them continue to grow their skills and knowledge. And part of growing their skills and knowledge means they want to work with leaders they can easily approach for guidance and advice.

To illustrate what this looks like and how up-and-coming professionals view approachability, when we asked Kira Goepferd, a student at Portland State University and Property Management Assistant at Schnitzer Properties, what her ideal leader  looks like, shesaid: 

My perfect boss is someone who’s understanding, open to listening and giving feedback, honest and transparent.”

Similarly, Rohit Chauhan, a Graduate Student at MIT Center for Real Estate, said he prioritises all-around communication and interpersonal skills in leadership::

“Someone who’s skilled professionally, but also with great interpersonal skills, communication skills, somebody who is equal parts professional, but also informal and friendly when you need that.”

Today’s property management leaders set an example for tomorrow’s leaders 

For those who aspire to be great leaders themselves one day, our interviewees said the blueprint  begins with today’s leaders. This means leading by example. The example that  young property management professionals mentioned that they  wanted to see most was supportive leadership.

For example, Kira wants a leader that’s “caring” and “supportive” who she can go to with a question about anything. That’s because  in her experience, she learns the most about successful leadership from her current leaders who encourage her to learning as much as possible, ask questions, and network 

“If I do get the chance to become a leader in my future, I want to do those exact same steps of showing the person who’s interested in the career, the steps it takes to get to the final step.”

In addition, Collin Wong, an Associate at NBS Real Estate consulting, said that an environment where he’s free to learn and even fail is so important to evolve his leadership skills. 

“The best support for me to be a successful leader is being presented with situations and opportunities to learn, being able to ask the dumb questions and also having the ability to fail, and to learn from some of the things that didn’t work and be able to evolve my professional skill set.”

Make property management and real estate an attractive career path

 By creating a supportive atmosphere with leaders who work with people instead of just managing their work, property management and real estate will also become a more attractive career option for those entering the working world. And with a talent shortage in property management and real estate, this is more important than ever. 

Nick Reed, another up-and-coming leader, highlighted in his discussion that there’s a  need to focus on replacing those who will soon be leaving the workforce with fresh new talent.. 

“We know that there’s going to continue to be a lot of turnover with the baby boomers and generations ahead of us continuing to retire and leaving executive positions. I think positioning myself as a leader early on is going to help that career advancement when those opportunities do arise.”

For more insights into how your organization can foster a more supportive environment for future property management and real estate leaders, catch the full episode of The Top Floor now.

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