Three Tips for Success as a Supervisor

Three Tips for Success as a Supervisor
By: Nicholas A. Dunlap, CPM

Monday morning, 7:45 am and the rattle of my keyboard beats like the cadence drum of a high school marching band when “Ring, Ring” interrupts. First phone call of the day and I have not even finished my first email. Being as though 11 hours a day seems to be the hour allowance required by my job, I try to multi-task to complete as much as I can. So here I am, talking on my desk phone and in the middle of an email when a text message comes through about another job and a question about materials. No sooner can I reply to the text message and come a click away from sending the email when, you guessed it, my cell phone starts to ring. Finishing up on my desk phone, “Okay, yeah, I will talk to you later. Okay. Mmhmm. Bye”

“Hello?” They hung up! Okay, on to email two. A visitor, wait, I didn’t schedule an 8am Monday morning meeting did I? No, that’s right. It’s an impromptu. “ Oh, Hi, Good to see you. I reviewed the weekend activity log and see that you had a productive weekend. Good to see, I will make sure to follow up and we will talk later.” Cell phone ringing, email in progress. Time to follow up. “Hi, I hate to be brief but I was just…Ok, that will do. Okay. Thank you.”

Sound familiar? As a supervisor or manager, it is our instinct to accomplish gluttonous amounts and appease as many of our subordinates as possible. For a property supervisor, this can include: maintenance personnel, managerial staff, vendors, administration, ownership and more. With that, it is important to be effective in dealing with each person and minimize the need for call backs, discussions, etc.

Now, my three tips for succeeding in a supervisory capacity:

1. Quick and Effective Communication- Email and Text Messages afford us the best opportunity to do this and what’s more, we have documentation. For the on-the-go professional, text messages and emails can be easily saved and accessed at a later point in time to follow up on the progress and productivity of staff.

2. Start With a To Do List and Be Ready to Add- It would be great if the 10 items you set out to accomplish at 7:30 in the morning were all that you needed to do at 10 in the morning, but the truth of the matter is that now the 10 items has multiplied exponentially. Understand that this will happen and realize that you will need to gauge the significance and importance of the items you are to complete. If someone else could possibly assist, consider delegating a duty to them so that you can focus on items more significant to you and your firms progress.

3. Understand Difficult Personalities- We all have the team members who require handholding, follow up, monitoring, multiple phone calls, more patience, more direction, etc. Now, the hiring of these people might be an issue for HR, but the ability to effectively work with and motivate them comes back to recognizing their nuances and understanding how to best work with them. By no means am I saying to deal with which person differently, but read your caller ID and know what to expect before you take the call.