Out to Put a Dent in the Multifamily Universe

Emotionally Loaded

Mike Brewer's take on emotionally loaded situationsHandling emotionally loaded situations is a true art form. How many of you have faced┬átalking a customer down from the ledge of – ‘you are getting a piece of my mind?’ How many of those conversations included personal attacks targeted at you or one of your apartment service team members. How many of those comments – right, wrong or indifferent – did you deserve but still stung to the point of escalating your own emotions? How many of you have called the police to get that resident out of the office? How many of you felt all-powerful once that person did leave? How many of you had an emotional crash after an emotionally loaded conversation? How many felt remorse? How many felt vindicated?

It’s Normal

You’ve heard of fight or flight. You know that in an emotionally loaded situation you are pre-programmed to stand up and fight or run away. You are not pre-programmed for reasoning. At least not as far as I see it. Reasoning takes work. It takes time. It takes concession. It takes wherewithal. It takes patience. And it’s normal.

If a flight situation your first order is to run for the hills. Today we focus on the fight.

In a fight (emotionally loaded) situation your first order of business is to teach someone a lesson. You broke your lease so you owe the money – look here at your lease that I’ve highlighted in a nice bright pink color and underlined (for emphasis) three times in red. You owe it. Or, your company is causing all kinds of noise issues after hours – look here at this section of the lease. And so on and so forth. You are out to teach a lesson.

Guess what – in a fight they’re not going to learn the lesson. Not by your method of teaching. Not in this lifetime.

What Do You Do Instead?

It’s the doormat versus the artist conversation.

And I am anxious to hear your position…

Your always interested in the human behavior piece of our business multifamily maniac,


About Mike Brewer

Out to put a dent in the multifamily universe. Love compelling conversation...

  • Lisa Z

    Are you talking about my team again?! Wow! I just had this conversation not long ago with my team. Yes, their first instinct is to fight back. Yes, we are correct because the lease says we are. Yes, we’ve had to call the police to remove a resident from our office (on more than one occasion). Yes, yes, yes.
    But no…this is not the way to handle a loaded situation. You need to take a deep breath and listen empathetically. Really listen. Half the battle is just listening. Once the situation is unloaded on you, the resident starts to feel better right away. They just want someone to hear them out and truly care about their loaded situation.

    • Laura Bruyere

      You’re so right Lisa! Hard to do sometimes, think its a natural reaction when pushed, push back. Great mentoring, maturity and yes, the art of listening work so much better. Your team is luck to have you ­čÖé Thanks for sharing!!

  • Hana

    Stumbled across your blog through a Kenneth Cole tagline post. Being a part of a small Management company and considering my networking of multi-family professionals is limited to those I spend 40+ hours per week with, I feel at home and like I am having lunch with a friend while reading through your posts. Whether I am wired different or have just learned over the years, I find I am one of the only on our team that has any sense to react with reason in the heat of things. I’ve found that as Lisa suggests, LISTEN. Then, my trick is to relate to them. Find SOMETHING in their laundry list of excuses that I have experienced or can make up an experience to relate to so that I am just another human being and resident who understands. Sympathize and then gently transition from neighbor to management and tell ’em how it is. Works (almost) every time. It has turned a situation of someone walking in the door screaming to crying about x, y, and z, and leaving the office nodding telling me they understand and appreciate my time.

    • Hana,

      Game on! Thank you for taking the time to add to this conversation. Your points are spot on. What market do you work in, if you don’t mind me asking?

      Have a compelling finish to the week.


      • Hana

        Minneapolis, MN