Last modified on September 21st, 2023
By Megan Eales Monroe
Across all industries, a new work paradigm has emerged — and it calls for a new style of management. After the many changes and challenges teams have experienced over the last several years, the need for human-centered leadership is greater than ever before.
When it comes to property management, human-centered leaders must help teams perform at their best, build a company culture that attracts and retains top talent, and communicate proactively and transparently. While there is no easy way to succeed in all of these areas simultaneously, there is one factor that is crucial to success in all three: optimizing how your time is spent.
To help property managers take a more thoughtful approach, AppFolio looked to advice provided by some of the industry’s most forward-thinking executives. We paired their indispensable leadership insights with thought-provoking exercise prompts to help you put each into action.
Start by assessing your company culture
As a leader in your organization, you have many business goals to prioritize, but creating and articulating your company culture should be at the top. That’s because your company culture sets the standard for everyone on the team — and can be a make-or-break factor for hiring and retention.
“Culture is the most valuable competitive advantage you have in a world of massive choice for employees today. Who you are as a place to work and what you’re all about matters more than ever. Why does someone want to work in your organization? If you can answer that question, you’re going to arrive at your culture.” — Steve Cadigan, Talent Strategist and Work Culture Consultant, Cadigan Talent Ventures
Turn Steve’s insight into action with this exercise prompt:
What are the top reasons employees want to work for your specific company?
Understand your employees better
With a never-ending list of business decisions to make, customer needs to address, and staff to manage, it can be incredibly difficult to take a step back and get to know employees as individuals beyond their day-to-day responsibilities. However, it’s essential to see and treat team members as whole people. One way to do so is by utilizing an approach that Gozen Hartman, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Fairlawn Real Estate, has adopted. She shares how to build a greater level of empathy for, and understanding of, your teams.
“If you think about the things in your life (your ‘jar’), you have ‘rocks’ that are the most important things, and you have ‘sand’ that is the noise around you. If you fill your jar with sand first, there will be no room for the rocks, those bigger things that get you to where you want to be.”— Gozen Hartman, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Fairlawn Real Estate
Turn Gozen’s insight into action with this exercise prompt:
What are your employees’ most important things in their life, both personally and professionally?
Help teams see the bigger purpose
In today’s landscape, property management organizations are perfectly positioned to become powerful agents of change by increasing their social footprint and decreasing their environmental impact. Not only are these global initiatives sought after more and more by employees and residents alike, they’ll also soon be expected as part of your day-to-day business practices, too.
Lisa Wise, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Flockster from Flock DC, describes how her organization is leading the way today:
“We believe that doing good business leads to more business and we have to be thoughtful about how we impact our planet, how we impact people, how we advance anti-racism, and how we do what we can to support a community that supports us.”— Lisa Wise, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Flockster, Flock DC
Turn Lisa’s insight into action with this exercise prompt:
What are three ways your organization can champion positive community change?
Retain your top performers
Attracting top talent has always been a challenge for the property management industry. However, instead of trying to hire new team members, your organization might be better off understanding how to retain existing team members first. Stacy Holden, Industry Principal and Senior Director at AppFolio, explains:
“Focus on employee retention. A lot of times, we don’t recognize the financial impact of employee turnover; it’s very costly both in the short and the long term. Make sure your business is talking to your staff, meet them where they are, and work on their retention. Things that keep team members happy don’t necessarily have to cost money.”— Stacy Holden, Industry Principal and Senior Director, AppFolio
Turn Stacy’s insight into action with this exercise prompt:
What does your employee retention strategy look like today?
Explore more expert leadership insights
Human-centered leadership is everything when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. For even more actionable insights and property management leadership advice on how executives can solve today’s top staffing challenges, build a strong team-oriented culture, and bring out the best in their teams, download this guide.