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3 Ways for Self-Storage Managers to Resolve and Prevent Conflict With Their Owner or Supervisor

Experiencing a conflict with your owner or supervisor is a scenario no self-storage manager wants, but it can happen. Here are three ways to ensure you can find common ground, resolve your issues and even prevent future problems.

Allicyn Bowley

March 31, 2022

4 Min Read
3 Ways for Self-Storage Managers to Resolve and Prevent Conflict With Their Owner or Supervisor

Conflict is an unavoidable part of working with others. As a self-storage manager, it’s important to understand how to handle any clashes you might experience with your supervisor or facility owner. When resolutions remain out of reach, everyone is unhappy, and the business will likely suffer as a result.

The keys to resolving workplace conflict are good team training, clear communication and everyone clearly understanding the expectations of their role within the company. Let’s dig into those deeper and look at some advice for creating a friction-free relationship with your work superiors.

Good Team Training

Preventing conflict between employees and their higher-ups really begins with training. A lack of it can easily lead to problems. Self-storage managers might fail to meet expectations simply because they don’t know what they are, which can cause them to feel frustrated or overwhelmed. In addition, the supervisor will likely become upset because the manager isn’t following company policies and procedures.

For example, if you aren’t told how often to make collection calls and you only conduct them once per month, but your boss expects you to make them weekly, there’s a possibility for conflict because expectations weren’t communicated. Or perhaps your sales training was inadequate and you aren’t reaching your self-storage occupancy goals. This will be upsetting to you and those above you.

If you feel like you haven’t received proper training for any aspect of the business, reach out to your supervisor or owner as soon as possible and let them know so they can spend more time with you. If your concerns are brushed off, try presenting your request at another time. Sometimes simply rephrasing the request will work, too. Just don’t be afraid to ask for help. When expectations are communicated and training is provided, it can minimize the chance for conflict. Self-storage managers will understand their duties and be well-prepared to do their job.

Clear Communication

When there’s a lack of proper communication, it’s easy for people to jump to conclusions rather than ask questions to understand another person’s point of view. For example, let’s say your self-storage owner or regional manager has set an annual budget for facility maintenance. If you ask that some work be completed, but there isn’t room in the budget and it isn’t an emergency, the request is likely to be put on the back burner. Rather than get frustrated, try reaching out to your boss to ask about the delay. They’ll be able to explain their reasoning, and you’ll be able to speak your mind.

When you choose to not communicate about the delayed maintenance, you might start carrying a bad attitude at work because you feel as if your facility isn’t being cared for properly. In turn, your supervisor might assume you’re unhappy with your position in general. Clear communication opens opportunities for both parties to fix issues when they arise instead of waiting until they become bigger problems.

Understanding Your Role

Often, self-storage managers will empathize with their customers more so than with supervisors or owners. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it’s critical to connect with your tenants if you want to make them happy. However, it’s also necessary to understand your role as a manager and the impact of your actions on the business.

Your policies and procedures are in place to protect the company from risk and ensure operations run smoothly. As a manager, you need to understand what the rules are and why they exist. This will help you appreciate why you must follow them. It’ll also enable you to better explain them to your customers.

For instance, if you’re constantly waiving late fees because you feel bad for your tenants, you might think you’re doing the right thing because you’re helping them. In reality, you’re taking money from the company. No one wants to pay a late fee, but if you were to waive it for every tenant, the credits issued can easily reach hundreds of dollars each month, which reflects poorly on you and hurts the business. Yes, it’s important to empathize with tenants, but you should also understand why each policy and procedure is in place. While it might feel good to waive a late fee, it should feel better to know you’re helping your facility succeed.

Conflicts between self-storage staff and supervisors are bound to happen. Sometimes they’re unavoidable. However, it’s the way you respond to them that really matters. The Golden Rule says to treat others the way you want to be treated. When you’re facing a conflict with your boss, this means offering them respect and making every effort to understand their point of view. When you do, you’ll be able to find a resolution faster and easier.

Allicyn Bowley is director of policy and procedures for Self Storage Science LLC, a provider of audits, consulting and property-management services. With 10 years of industry experience, she’s responsible for minimizing liability, ensuring policies are up to date and overseeing the company’s Colorado locations. To reach her, call 720.707.9277; email [email protected].

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