The Multifamily Masks That We Wear

By: Shad Bookout

mask 1Masks are a fundamental part of our lives in the multi-family industry. Part of it is putting on a great face for our teams and customers on days we may not be at 100%. Other times, we may find our residents to be disagreeable, and may therefore dawn a mask of ourselves so that we can deliver a better customer experience. The same can be said for co-workers and even the suppliers that visit our doors. Even suppliers can undergo persona changes from one apartment community to the next in order to be more engaging to the staff members who work there.

But the challenge is not the masks themselves. Masks are a useful tool when needed. The challenges come when we wear so many masks or a single mask so much that we begin to lose sight of who we are. As we move from mask to mask, we begin to gain a sense of disillusionment. We wind up wearing our mask more often than not. Then one day, we wake up to discover that it has become necessary to wear a mask of our true selves.

mask 2Wearing these masks is not always a conscious choice; often, it is a consequence of the jobs that we choose. Managers drive us to interact in a certain way and some multi-family brands have gone as far to script every interaction with our residents (both future and current). We are expected to act a certain way, to say certain things and to behave as brand ambassadors. We build relationships with our industry partners, our on-site teams and our residents that further create expectations that we try to meet to fit in, or sometimes, just to be accepted.

Even in the increasingly scripted and homogenous environment that is evolving in the multi-family industry, you are able to find ways to limit the amount of mask-wearing that is necessary to succeed. The first comes as a conscious choice to love what you do. Very few of us grew up saying that we want to be in multi-family management when we grow up. For everyone else, you have to make the daily affirmation that this is the path you have chosen.

mask 3The next step is to remove the expectations you have placed on yourself. Working tons of extra hours and answering emails at midnight will only drive you to don more masks and extend yourself closer to burnout. Not taking time for you leads you to forgetting who you are.

Also, it is time for you to remove the expectations you have of others. Residents, co-workers and industry partners don’t deserve judgment based on false pretenses or due to the masks you expect them to wear. Begin to look past the masks and expect others to be themselves (for good or bad). Once the masks are gone, an honest dialog can happen that will allow each of you to quite possibly learn something new. Once the masks are gone, all that is left is real.

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PackageLog® is proud to be an industry partner for multi-family communities and other businesses across the nation. To learn how we can help your brand succeed and how we can help you have communication to your residents free from masks, click here.