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Sending Out an SOS: When Should Self-Storage Managers Seek Help?

Every self-storage manager needs help from time to time. Perhaps you’re ill, overwhelmed or under qualified for a task, or simply need validation that you’re on the right path. You don’t want to appear inept, lazy or weak. Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can use to not only get the help you need, but also retain your pride.

Amy Campbell

February 18, 2016

4 Min Read
Sending Out an SOS: When Should Self-Storage Managers Seek Help?

By Amy Campbell  

Many of us try to do everything on our own. Call it pride, being an A-type personality or simply the desire to maintain control. On the job, however, attempting to handle more than humanely possible can lead to job burnout, mistakes, a dissatisfied boss or worse. Self-storage operators, who are tasked with myriad responsibilities daily, often “go it alone” for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s because you’re the only person manning the property, so all tasks fall on you. Others may have backup but prefer to manage certain tasks on their own. Regardless, everyone needs help once in a while, but sometimes it’s hard to gauge when you should seek assistance and where to get it.

A recent thread on Self-Storage Talk (SST), the industry’s biggest online community, offers advice on when managers should ask their supervisors for help. You would think there would be some obvious answers to this, but it often it depends on the manager’s level of authority. Some seek help when a difficult customer just cannot be satisfied, while others will only ask for guidance on raising rental rates or handling a large maintenance project. Other managers do it all and rarely ever ask for input from the boss.

Still, there may come a time when you do need assistance. Perhaps you’re feeling under the weather, overwhelmed or under qualified for a task, or simply need validation that you’re on the right path. You don’t want to appear inept, lazy or weak. Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can use to not only get the help you need, but also still retain your pride.

First, determine if you truly need help. Have you taken a step back to examine the problem, tried to fix it from a different angle or sought answers online? For example, maybe you’re having trouble with your management software. Before calling your supervisor, did you try your vendor’s tech support, check the manual or seek answers on a community forum? Sometimes you can find the answer to your problem if you try a new approach.

Next, if you really can’t solve the problem on your own, it’s time to ask for assistance. While you may think your boss will view you as incompetent for not resolving the issue yourself, he may wonder why you didn’t ask for help sooner. Sometimes it’s best to give it your best shot, then call for backup. Everyone gets stuck now and again. There’s no harm in admitting you need help.

Finally, when you do send out an SOS, be prepared. You may have been working on the problem for some time, but it’s new information to your supervisor. Be ready to fully explain what’s going on, what you’ve done so far to resolve the situation, and any alternative actions you haven’t yet tried. Often, a new perspective is all that’s needed to solve a problem.

One way to ensure you’re equipped to handle anything that comes your way as a self-storage manager is get informed before problems arise. Whether you’re new to the job or have logged your share of hours, you’ll uncover a wealth of information at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, April 25-28, in Las Vegas. Attending the biggest show of the year is a great way to get a better grip on the challenges you face every day—revenue management, customer service, online marketing and more. You can still take advantage of early-bird savings if you register by Feb. 22.

Another great place to ask questions is Self-Storage Talk, where you’ll find no judgment, just support. Not only can SST members offer guidance for “been there, done that” problems, they’re also be a great sounding board for your ideas. The community is also a supportive place to vent after a frustrating day. Membership is free and you can even remain fairly anonymous when you choose your username.  

We all need help from time to time and no there’s no shame in admitting it—or seeking it. Do yourself a favor and listen to your gut. If you’re in over your head, confused or just need clarification, ask for guidance from someone. It’s better to get help and move on than dwell on something and drive yourself crazy. More times than not, someone else has been in your shoes and would be happy to lead you in the right direction.

When do you ask for assistance from a supervisor? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below on in this SST thread.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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