By Kim Alton
In an increasingly competitive and overgrown market, many self-storage owners take a hard look, not only at their facilities, but also at the team of people who help operate them. A smart owner will want to utilize the most knowledgeable and experienced personnel to help maximize his investment.
As a facility manager, you may be faced with a new supervisor coming aboard. Even though your previous supervisor thought you were golden and creative, and thought you managed the facility to peak performance, now is no time to panic. Think about some of the following ideas to make the transition a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Be Open to Change
A new supervisor will bring new ideas, motivations and goals. Let the old supervisor go. They are physically gone, and dwelling on the previous situation is a waste of time. You may have feelings of your job being in jeopardy and losing the comfort zone of what is expected of you, but you must remember that people come and go for a reason, and change has a way of keeping us full of fresh ideas and from becoming complacent.
Show Your Stuff
You know your strengths; capitalize on them and let your talent shine through. Continue to offer marketing ideas, create fliers to hand out, offer brochures, sparkle on your phone sales and let your new supervisor know by your actions that you will remain an important part of the management team.
Attitude Is Everything
When you wake up in the morning, your first decision of the day should be that you are going to have a positive, productive day. You are in charge of your attitude and how you approach daily decisions while using your managerial skills. Have you ever tried smiling when you answer the phone? Do you raise your voice an octave to project the eagerness to assist a potential tenant on the phone? Keep your attitude in check. It reflects who you are.
A Fresh Look
Look at your site as if it is the first day you took over. Are the files organized and up to date? How about the bathroom--is it sparkling clean? Could your office use a fresh coat of paint? Is your handicap sign cracked and peeling, or could it use a touch up? What about the windows (especially the door windows)? Take a hard look at the first impression.
Get It Done Now
If faced with corrections on a file audit or your new supervisor has suggested new flowers, repainting doors or polishing roll-up doors, complete these job duties first in your list of priorities. Your new supervisor will really appreciate those who are cooperative from the very beginning. As jobs are completed, you may consider faxing or mailing the completion dates to your supervisor to let them know you are on top of it.
New supervisors have an overwhelming amount of projects to accomplish. They are usually bombarded with several fires to put out at once. If you are unclear about what is expected of you, or you feel uncomfortable about your situation, consider a phone meeting or a site meeting with your supervisor to discuss any fears or uncertainties you may be experiencing. Remember that perception is very important. Three people can read the same memo and interpret its meaning in three different ways. It is up to you to perceive change as a negative or positive and act upon it accordingly.
Working alongside and in the same direction as your supervisor will only produce great results for everyone concerned. You will realize that the fears and concerns you many have had in the beginning will prove to be unfounded. Take this golden opportunity to remain open-minded and improve your job.
Kim Alton is assistant operations manager and trainer for the C.N. Lyons Development Company based in Newport Beach, Calif. For more information, call (949) 752-5000.