The Mark of a Professional
As an organization, IREM is passionate about supporting our members through professional development; but what exactly does that word “professional” mean? If you close your eyes right now and conjure up an image of the ideal professional, what would he or she look like? What does this person’s voice sound like? How does this person carry themselves? If this person listed off their greatest qualities, what would you want to hear first?
It’s safe to say the answer to these questions will be a little different for everyone, but at least for the last question, surely we can narrow our focus. Now, every industry is going to require a unique set of skills, so if we want to narrow down the mark of a professional in the real estate management industry, who better to ask than our members!
“Listening and thinking before you speak is a mark of professionalism. When a leader opens their mouth, they need to think about how their message will be received and remembered.” – Stephanie Swanson, CPM with Transwestern, AMO
When you read the word thoughtful, you probably we’re expecting the quote that followed, but it’s exactly the quality Stephanie is describing. We often think about thoughtful in the context of emotion, but being a thoughtful professional means you’re not just spouting off directions to your team. Just as Stephanie said, a well-developed professional will have the skill to think about what they want to say, how they want to say it, and how it will be perceived.
"Professionalism is the ability to communicate effectively, while maintaining diplomacy." – Stephenie Wendt, CPM Candidate with Stream Realty Partners, AMO
This mark of professionalism is especially key in a person that is a leader or aspires to be one. Being an effective communicator is a skill that most individuals are constantly practicing as it’s something you need in every aspect of life. However, communicating while maintaining diplomacy is a much greater skill. When you’re working in a team environment, as many real estate managers are, diplomacy is key in keeping everyone happy and working towards the same goal. Engineers, Owners, Services Providers, the list goes on and on. A true professional can master the art of keeping every department on the same page.
Strong Work Ethic
"The mark of professionalism is a strong work ethic; it’s important my team knows I’m productive and goal driven, working toward favorable results." – Nicole Foster with Transwestern, AMO
This one is an oldie, but a goodie. We’ve all been told, possibly since before we can remember, that a strong work ethic is important. The context in which Nicole describes it though bring it to the forefront of what it means to be a professional. She relates this extremely important quality to team motivation. You have to do more than just know you’re a dedicated worker, you have to show it. Also, it’s important to work smart, not just hard. As Nicole mentions, having a strong work ethic doesn’t necessarily mean you’re working 12-hour days; it means you’re being productive and working towards specific team goals.
"To me, professionalism means being accountable and reliable to your co-workers and clients." – Greg Sherman, CPM with Brookfield Properties
The characteristic of being accountable can mean so much; accountability means trustworthy, strong, responsible and reliable. One of the easiest ways to foster professionalism within yourself is to foster these feelings about you in others. When you’re seen as a “go-to” person, always there for your team and customers, you become more than someone who can get a job done; you become THE someone who can get the job done.
Sometimes, it can’t be narrowed down to just one factor. As two of our members eloquently put it, it’s about a few key qualities, and how they all fit together that result in the mark of a professional.
“The demonstration of dedication, with a quiet confidence, while being respectful in appearance and upholding integrity to the highest of standards.” – Janet Shipley, CPM with CBRE Inc., AMO
“Informed, Reliable, Ethical, Mannered” – Philip Schneidau, CPM with Woodbranch Management
(The last quote just so happens to be an acronym for IREM. Guess we know a thing or two about professionalism after all!)
While this is not an all-encompassing list, it gives all of us a greater insight into what someone in the real estate management industry might mean when they say “I’m looking for a real professional”.
About the Author: Lindsay Konlande currently serves as the Association Assistant for IREM Houston. Lindsay earned her Bachelor Degree in Communication from Texas A&M and has several years of experience in marketing, public relations and copywriting.