When You Need to Say No

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June 24 BlogIt is well known that Property Managers will go above and beyond to help their clients and tenants.  Property Managers have a unique and important role, and many of their unseen duties are hardly ever reflected in their job description. So why is saying no hard, and why is it so important?

Why Saying No is Important

It is important to say no, so you feel empowered while still maintaining your relationship with your clients, unit owners, and employer. Saying no helps you establish healthy boundaries, and others can clearly understand what they can expect from you. 

Before you go out saying no to everything and everyone, think of the things that cause you the most stress.  Is it having to arrive early to set up for a board meeting, remembering to bring the coffee when no one else does, or the fear that added expenses would blow your budget? Instead of going on a "No Spree," think about the following:

1) Talk to Your Employer

Talk to your employer and know the expectations of your role upfront.  Some cultures have expectations that Property Managers will go above and beyond to make the relationship with the client the best it can be.  If this is the expectation, then it needs to be discussed with your employer together with a review of performance indicators and how it would affect your performance rating.  Otherwise, Property Managers need to assess how much they can actually do in their role. 

2) Have the Difficult Conversation

Consider having a conversation with the condo board, determining who will do what, and making expectations clear. Even if it is not at the start of a new relationship, talk and reset the future baseline of expectations. June 24 Blog 2

3) Know the Signals

As a Property Manager, you have to be on top of things understanding when things could go awry.  Often just following up with a call and then an email indicating the process or rules can avoid future disappointment.

4) The Polite No

If you need to say no, do it directly and clearly, but also be professional and courteous. Watch your body language and don't beat around the bush, which can lead to ambiguity.   Being gracious and polite can go a long way.  Running through scenarios and formulating answers to requests ahead of time can help. Often providing reasons why you can't perform the task and offering suggestions of how this can be done will help with the transition.

It's sometimes easier said than done but learning to say no and setting boundaries can make you a more effective manager for your community. Prioritize what needs to get done, talk to your team, recognize the patterns that occur before things going awry, and learn to speak up for yourself. Politely saying no frees up your time and energy to say yes to the things that will make the biggest impact for the community you serve. What boundaries will YOU set today?


Dana Gidge, CHRP, CHRL 
Senior HR Consultant RLB LLP

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