Ever wonder what type of community manager you are in the eyes of your vendors? I know I often wonder how community managers I work with see me!
These are certainly stereotypes as everyone has their own personal traits and style. After 25 years being a pool service vendor for many, many different community managers, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of community managers.
Most of you are good. You work hard, you have an amazing ability to keep an even keel while under verbal attack, you understand budgeting, funding, HOA protocol and multi-tasking is, "the only way you survive!"
The best of you realize that your vendors are your eyes and ears in the community. You understand that time spent being proactive is much more productive than time spent reacting. You understand that like community managers, there are good vendors and lousy vendors. But, have you really considered what, exactly, makes a good vendor (community manager). I'm betting you would say something along the lines of... a good vendor (community manager) provides great service in a timely fashion. You know this because the vendor (community manager) communicates frequently the state of the community. The vendor(community manager) calls or emails to give you a "heads up" about a problem, situation, event or communication with a homeowner/board member. A good vendor (community manager) answers your calls more times than not and returns yours call quickly. A good vendor (community manager) emails you with information realizing that you spend a good part of your day prioritizing and putting out fires, and answers your emails quickly. A good vendor (community manager) doesn't talk down to you because you don't understand his/her job expectations. A good vendor (community manager) works under the assumption that it is a team effort. It's the community manager's job to handle the community's endless needs. It's the vendors who are your teammates in this often frustrating part of your job. If the vendor (community manager) is not a positive contributor to the team, the team suffers. The best vendors realize the line community managers walk daily between the board, the management company for which they work, and lastly, the vendors. The best community managers coach. That's right, they coach. They coach the board, and they coach the vendors. Now, what do all great leaders and coaches have in common?? The answer...All of them are great communicators. All of them practice what they preach and everyone of them pays meticulous attention to little things. Little things that all start with communicating goals and expectations and well, coaching.
Needless to say, the bad and ugly community managers are not coaches. They are everything but. They are lousy teammates at best, and angry opponents at worst.
One vendor's humble opinion. I would be interested in responses. What, in your opinion, makes a good vendor or community manager. Are we teammates or adversaries? Or, what are we? Business is business but does it have to be impersonal?