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Communicating With Your Supervisor or Facility Owner

July 1, 2000

4 Min Read
Communicating With Your Supervisor or Facility Owner

Communicating With Your Supervisor or Facility Owner

By Pamela Alton

As the on-site manager of a storage facility, you have many responsibilities: telephonesales, customer service, showing and renting units, maintenance, outside marketing anddaily management duties, to name a few. One of the duties probably not covered in yourfacility policy and procedures manual is interacting with your supervisor, districtmanager or facility owner.

Some managers many never see or hear from their supervisor. Others feel like theyalmost live with them. No matter which is true for you, there are basic rules in dealingwith your superior.

Letter of Employment

When you accepted your current position, your owner or supervisor should have drafted aLetter of Employment that spells out your job duties, compensation package and goals hewants you to achieve at your facility. This is the critical first step in setting up anhonest and open communication policy with your superiors. If you currently don't have sucha letter, perhaps you should discuss this with your employer and ask that one be drafted.

Job Duties

Obviously, when you were hired, your job duties should have been discussed with you,and any questions you had should have been answered for you at that time. Periodically,you should review these duties with your supervisor. If you are bored and can handle moreresponsibility, ask for more things to do. If you are overwhelmed with your currentduties, discuss how you can get them done by reorganizing your time or prioritizing yourtasks. Perhaps ask for some outside help with maintenance or marketing duties. Yoursupervisor many not know you need help unless you talk about it.

Goals

Try to set aside several times a year to discuss your personal and business goals forthe next year, quarter or month. Set your goals high enough to make you stretch, butachieve those goals. Don't allow yourself or your supervisor to set unattainable goals youcan't achieve. This will only serve to de-motivate you. Your goals could be increasingoccupancy by 2 percent to 5 percent each month, decreasing delinquency levels, overseeingcosmetic repairs at your facility or designing a monthly marketing program. They could bepersonal goals, such as attending computer classes, Spanish classes, graphic design foryour ads and brochures, joining a community club to expose your facility to another marketwhile enjoying the company of people with similar interests. Whatever the goal is, discussit with your supervisor.

Communication

Communicating on a regular basis with your facility owner or supervisor is a must. Notonly does it help you with problems or situations that arise at your facility, butcommunication will also help you know if you are doing a good job or if there is room forimprovement. One of the ways to communicate daily with your home office is to call in yourdeposit from the day before every morning before 10 a.m. This gives you the opportunity todiscuss any problems or answer any questions you many have with your supervisor on aregular basis. Open communication can stop minor problems from exploding into majorheadaches.

Manuals

You should have been given a company policy and procedures manual to read and discussat the time of being hired. This manual should have covered such issues as lunch breaks,paydays, holidays, dress code, emergency procedures, lien and auction laws, collections,etc. If you can improve on your company's current manual, offer suggestions. If yourcompany does not have one, purchase one or several that are available on the market todayand work with your supervisor to draft a customized version for your facility.

Philosophy and Mutual Respect

You and your supervisor should have similar philosophies with respect to the managementof your facility. During your job interview or during your probationary period, thesephilosophies should have come up for discussion. You will obviously not agree with yourfacility owner 100 percent of the time. If that is the case, you should discuss yourdifferences openly and honestly. In order for everyone to do the best job possible for thefacility, there has to be mutual respect from both parties. Make an appointment with yoursupervisor to discuss your concerns. Write them down to help keep you focused. Role playwith your spouse or assistant manager so you will feel comfortable discussing those"unpleasant" issues.

Time to Move on?

If you feel you can't discuss issues with your supervisor or owner, that you won't beheard, that you resent being micro-managed (after all, why did they hire you if they'realways going to second-guess your decisions?), then speak up and tell your facility ownerhow you feel. Remember: It's not what you say, but how you say it that is the key.

There are times when nothing you say or do is good enough for your supervisor. You arein a lose/lose situation, and that is not a good place to be. If that is the case, perhapsit's time for you to look for a different company that has goals and philosophies that aresimilar to your own. You are not doing yourself, your facility or your supervisor anyfavors by doing a minimal job. Get your resume together and begin looking for a freshstart.

Pamela Altonis the owner of Mini-Management®, a nationwide manager-placement service.Mini-Management also offers full-service and "operations-only" facilitymanagement, training manuals, inspections and audits, feasibility studies, consulting andtraining seminars. For more information, call (800) 646-4648.

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