Luxury High-Rise Board Member? Look for these 5 Skills in Your General Manager

April 18, 2018 Al Wiles

Whether residents live in your high-rise community full time or simply visit their unit occasionally as a second home, they expect impeccable service from exemplary employees – and that starts with having the right general manager. When boards are considering a partnership with a new management company, part of their due diligence includes evaluating the person who will potentially serve in this role. Question each candidate about their level of expertise with each of the skills below, and you’ll be much more likely to find a general manager who’s not only qualified to manage your high-rise, but who will enhance the quality of your board member experience as well.

 

1. Leadership. Your general manager should know how to lead employees well so that they provide the best service possible to your residents. The manager should be well-versed in creating a positive workplace, maintaining clear lines of communication and creating inclusiveness with their team around strategy. For example, if the general manager and your board work together to create a vision for your community surrounding facilities, committees, charity efforts and more, this should be shared with employees because they will play key roles in bringing the strategy to life. A general manager should keep their finger on the pulse of employee morale and speak with them regularly, not just when there’s a problem.

2. Client Engagement. Your general manager shouldn’t always stay hidden away in their office. Rather, a significant part of managing high-rises is being out and about in the building interacting with residents and ensuring that they’re receiving the service they expect. Checking in on the concierge, reinforcing attention to detail, teaching employees to anticipate needs, supporting social committees, and promoting open meetings to receive feedback are all important ways to properly engage with you, the client.

3. Facilities Management. Make sure that your general manager is experienced with facilities management, since living in a functional and beautiful building is key to the high-rise experience. They should walk the entire building each day to do a visual inspection for any issues and to assess the building’s cleanliness. Your manager should also regularly meet with the facilities engineer to monitor the resolution of work orders and to oversee the progress of any onsite projects.

4. Financial Management. Your general manager should have a clear line-by-line understanding of your community’s operating budget as well as your reserve study. Each month they should produce a variance report to go along with the budget and income statement so that the board always knows where the community stands financially. A great general manager should also review service contracts before they expire and negotiate with vendors annually to get the best service and the best price for your high-rise community.

5. Communication. A quality general manager takes responsibility for facilitating clear and timely communication not only with the board, but with the entire community. They should ensure that residents receive information that’s relevant to them through a variety of channels, including mobile apps like TownSq. Because TownSq offers the ability to pay assessments, submit maintenance requests, book amenities and more, any time from any device, it fits perfectly into the luxury high-rise living experience of fulfilling residents’ needs on demand.

 

By ensuring that any management partner you’re considering offers general managers with this depth and breadth of background, you and your fellow board members will have more peace of mind about choosing the right candidate. With these five skills, your general manager will be much more likely to help your community achieve its vision. 

About the Author

Al Wiles

Al Wiles is the president of Somerset Association Management, Inc., which specializes in managing luxury high rise condominium buildings in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin. Before entering the community management industry, Al had an extensive career serving as an executive in the hospitality industry, where he managed dozens of upscale hotels and resorts across the country. Al holds a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration from the University of New Hampshire.

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