Whether you're an executive of a multinational corporation or a cashier at the local supermarket, you probably receive a performance evaluation that assesses how well you're doing your job. Many property management companies may also do regular assessments of their employees’ performance. But when it comes to a board’s assessment of its manager, forget about annual performance reviews, it’s game on every month.
“The best boards are the ones that trust the expertise of their chosen property manager,” says Christopher R. Berg, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, president of Independent Association Managers Inc., in Naperville. Every month when that manager shows up at a board meeting, something of a mini performance review happens on the spot. If a manager isn’t doing his or her job, the board will know it pretty quickly.
Say that at a regular monthly meeting, your board gives 'Tony,' your building's property manager, a list of things that needs to get done by the next meeting. This list includes several repairs, financial reports to be written and submitted, and three estimates to be solicited for a capital improvement project that the board is contemplating. One month later, Tony sits down at the meeting with precious few of those items crossed off his list. He still hasn't addressed the necessary repairs, including one minor plumbing leak that, due to his neglect, has gotten worse and caused additional property damage.
Of course, your board isn't happy—and now there are even more items to add to Tony’s ever-growing list. In this case, the board doesn’t need to wait a year to assess Tony’s performance. It’s clear that he’s not accomplishing his workload and is chronically behind. Your board may even decide that it's time to make a change, either to the manager themselves, or the entire management company.
But is chucking the whole relationship and starting over from scratch always the best move to make? Constructive criticism of a manager’s performance can actually be a learning experience for all involved. Even Winston Churchill touted the benefits of criticism and performance by saying, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”