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Conflict Resolution: Stop, Drop & Roll

Conflict Resolution: Stop, Drop & Roll
Conflicts come in all shapes and sizes. No matter the size, one thing conflicts have in common is that they are…well, common. No one can avoid conflict forever. Even the most accommodating, conflict-avoiding person will find him or herself face-to-face with conflict eventually.  When this happens, how you respond makes all the difference. Many people react to conflict. Reacting indicates an emotionally-charged, impulsive behavior. When you react to conflict, you’re more likely to say something you’ll later regret or let your emotions get the best of you. Responding to conflict, on the other hand, requires careful, conscious decision-making before speaking or acting. Responding to conflict helps you maintain control of the situation and keep your professional reputation in tact. The trickiest part about responding to conflict is keeping your emotions in check. Anger, annoyance, or frustration can overcome good judgment in an instant. Self-awareness and a healthy dose of humility are essential to avoiding the temptation to let an emotional reaction fan the flames of discord. When faced with an angry customer, a disagreement with a colleague, or any other uncomfortable confrontation, remember to stop, drop, and roll. Stop and think. What am I about to say? Is it on topic or a personal attack? How about my tone? Am I letting my frustration show? Have I raised my voice? What about body language? Are my arms crossed or my hands on my hips? Am I frowning?    Drop the unproductive behavior. Strong emotions may be present in a conflict. That’s natural......
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You Have NO Work Ethic!!

You Have NO Work Ethic!!
I was recently asked to speak and facilitate at a leadership conference and retreat for a company whose front line employees are mainly in their early 20’s with the managers and leadership of the company primarily in their late 30’s and 40’s.    While there was a tremendous amount of camaraderie and team cohesion (they were a very fun group to be around!) I couldn’t help but notice the difference between how the generations viewed the concept of “work ethic” and how that created a natural tension, even among an amazingly close-knit team. Some of the older ones were venting about “kids” not having work ethic and some of the “kids” wondered if the older peeps needed to “work smarter” instead of just “harder.”    So who is right?   I believe they both are right and wrong-at least from a “connection” perspective; which if you know me, you know that connection is what I am all about!    Let me unpack that further…   If you're a manager and you believe your people have no “work ethic” how do you communicate that to them? You may choose to say, “You have no work ethic!” As soon as you level that charge at someone (who probably believes that s/he does have work ethic) the person gets upset at you, says lots of bad words in his/her head, draws up the defenses, and disconnects-which isn’t good.    There is a cohort of leaders in the workforce who believe that employees should live, breathe, eat and bleed for the company; and......
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How to Avoid Conflict with Tenants

How to Avoid Conflict with Tenants
From making repairs to making payments, there are a number of conflict sources in the tenant-landlord relationship. It can be a mutually beneficial and even wonderful thing when all is right, but when it no longer is, the relationship can take a hit. Conflict avoidance is the best approach, and we’ve put together the following five actions that any property management can employ. Communicate—The best way to avoid conflict is to be clear, thorough, and consistent in all communications from the very beginning. This means having a lease that is well defined, ongoing conversations and reminders with tenants about their responsibilities, and ease of access to digital or print versions of property policies and guidelines. You also want to keep in mind that it’s always best to deal with any issues in writing – either via email or print – so there is a written record for everyone. Listen actively—It’s easy to only halfway listen to someone who has a differing view from your own (or not at all). But, it’s imperative to not only listen, but do so actively. Listen not only for words, but for what’s behind the words, including body language. Repeat back what is said to you so the other person can confirm understanding. This not only demonstrates caring and sensitivity (important to most), but may help you see things in a different way as well. Be open—Every interaction needs to be approached with an open, teachable spirit. You may feel very abused or taken advantage of when it comes to ten......
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Can't We All Just Get Along?

Can't We All Just Get Along?

A few days ago my wife and I had a “discussion” that was particularly illuminating and frustrating all at the same time. I realized that I was approaching a situation in our relationship in a way that I felt was respectful and thoughtful; however she revealed that my actions were not perceived as being respectful and thoughtful at all! In fact, she thought that I was being the opposite of respectful and thoughtful! This was the frustrating part!   The illuminating part was seeing once again, just how different we really are. In my attempts to do the right thing, I ended up doing the wrong thing in her eyes. In her attempts to do the right thing, she ended up doing the wrong thing in my eyes.    Sound familiar?   This same process not only plays out in millions of homes, it plays out everyday where we work too doesn’t it? I read a stat that said that over 60% of workplace clashes were due to “personality conflicts.” Incidentally, “personality conflicts” is a nice way to say, “I think my co-worker is a moron! Jerk! Idiot! Talks too much! Doesn’t talk enough! Is too excited! Is too dull! Smiles too much! Never smiles! Tells dumb jokes. Never has enough fun. Likes Coca-Cola! Likes Pepsi! Voted for Obama. Voted for Romney!” and on and on and on.   In other words, one of the the biggest causes of conflict in the workplace is tied into how we relate to one another!  &nb......
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When Managers Can't Respond

When Managers Can't Respond

It’s understandable that property management companies choose to respond to online reviews from a central location.  One person in particular may be designated to create responses for all of the communities within the portfolio.  One person…one tone…one message.  It makes perfect sense when you think about it.

Where this practice seems very practical, it may cripple the onsite teams in a variety of ways.  Oftentimes, residents air their grievances online after numerous attempts to settle their issues in-house.  If managers have not been trained in handling these interactions, a small issue could escalate into something more complicated, and more costly to resolve.

The basics of reputation management are very similar to conflict resolution.  How to handle a situation as it is presented can determine what will ultimately be expressed in an online review.  Communities across the country are met with reviews about unresponsive management, lack of trust, and indifferent service.  I say this time and time again; what happens onsite will often end up online.

Even if onsite teams are not tasked with responding to online reviews, it’s important that they have been trained in reputation management.  Where they may not be responsible for addressing resident concerns online, they are responsible for doing so onsite.  Learning to address resident concerns head-on with honesty, empathy and professionalism goes a long way to ensure resident satisfaction.

Do you consider conflict resolution and reputation management skills one in the same?

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Resident Retention: Pardon That Turkey

b2ap3_thumbnail_Turkey.jpgWe've all been guilty of it: "One-two-three-not-it!" the office team groupthinks as THAT resident comes in for the 5th time this week. Who will be the poor sucker who gets stuck this time? I'm not going to pretend that we're gonna absolutely love every person who moves into our community, but we've got to remember that each person is a customer, which makes them a VIP. And we need to treat them as such. Reality Check: Now more than ever residents are looking for a "sense of community." But according to our most recent study conducted with Ball State university this summer, "sense of community" begins with the resident's connection with the community staff, not with the other residents! So, with that reality in mind and with Thanksgiving in sight, it is entirely appropriate to discuss how to deal with those Turkeys (the people, not the birds). 1. Give a warm welcome and a fond farewell. This come straight out of the Ritz-Carlton handbook, folks. Think about when you arrive at a friend's house for dinner and how good it makes you feel when you walk in the door and your host/hostess lights up and seems thrilled to see you. While we don't need to greet each resident with a hug, we can make them feel important by being happy to see them. Often times, this one action (showing genuine warmth) can take the wind out of a complainer's sails. They may be more reluctant to demand attention on their p......
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Why People Are Like Bacon!

Why People Are Like Bacon!
A few weeks ago I was making breakfast for my daughter in the morning before bringing her to school. It was her first week of kindergarten so I wanted to make sure that she was “powered up” with a good breakfast. I whipped up some scrambled eggs, fruit and a couple of slices of turkey bacon.    My five year old looks at her plate, looks at me, and then says ...   “Dad, can I have REAL bacon, please?”   I had to laugh! Even a five year old girl-who knows nothing about the reasons why we eat mainly turkey bacon in our home, instead of “real bacon”, knows that there is a difference in taste, smell and overall experience between the two bacons. (Although I will say that Trader Joe’s turkey bacon is pretty good, considering.)    My daughter doesn’t have any of the guilt or worry associated with eating pork bacon, because she doesn’t know about any of the negatives associated with it. All she knows and focuses on is how great sizzling, crispy bacon tastes.    Me on the other hand-whenever I eat it I think about my rising cholesterol levels, my heart yelling at me, my arteries closing up on me, and the fact that I really should be eating some egg whites and a bowl of oatmeal rather than bacon and scrambled eggs. So even when I splurge and eat some real bacon, I don’t always enjoy it as much as I could. And many times, I simply avoid it.&......
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