On the surface, we operate in the self storage industry. Under that occupational veil, as we further define our roles and who we are, some of us may be owners, vendors, consultants or management companies. However, when we drill down to our core, we are all balancing, working and managing something much more difficult than store metrics and asset value. At our core, we are all managing people.
Over the years, I have gained “trial-by-error” insight and knowledge in what it means to and, more notably, how to manage people. I have always been a champion of self storage managers. They are the key ingredient to success, more so than location or any other element of our industry. I know firsthand the value and significance they bring to the success of a facility, even if they are not aware. Of course, my time is not without its fair share of growing pains. As I evolved in my role, I had to learn to trust and delegate more. I had to learn to listen more rather than speak. I had to change the entire way I spoke to managers. I had to choose my words wisely. I had to embrace change and become comfortable with shared control. As I made these changes, I felt an internal personal growth occur and witnessed the same transpire with each facility manager demonstrated by their work-place execution, empowerment and achievement at the store level.
You see, status is directly linked to survival and a diminishing status threatens an employee’s survival. Consequently, it is essential to maintain and bolster that manager status by any means necessary. It is imperative to constructively and consistently “manage” your team. It is easy for me to identify those managers who are committed to their job and the success of it. The identifier is patience because when a person is devoted to something, they tend to exert more patience rather than quickly getting aggravated.
Remember, there is no secret formula or technique to managing people or in this case, our self storage facility managers. You simply treat others like you would like to be treated. You manage with respect. You preserve open lines of communication, no matter how difficult that may be at times. You promote an enrolling and empowering mood throughout. You uphold and hoist the sails of status when and where you can. You preach that failure is an ingredient for success and remind everyone, including yourself, that none of us will get it right all of the time.