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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
  Delegating Efforts  
  by Glen Stoltz    this article appeared in October 2005 issue of Super!  


Delegate: to entrust to another [delegate authority], to appoint as one's representative, to assign responsibility or authority.

Three years ago a parking lot on a neighborhood corner was home to one of those establishments where customers paid fourteen seventy four an hour to park their cars. Today, on the site of that former parking lot, owners are settling into their condos, choosing window treatments and having babies while contractors are making noise and dust in adjacent apartments.

On any given weekday itís a bewildering beehive of activity. There were no sidewalks until more than 6 months after the first move-in. HVAC technicians are working to get all systems properly operational. There are roofing and faÁade crews attempting to keep rainwater on the outside. I have to persuade, threaten and cajole crews to follow the condoís contractor rules. There is a full concierge and porter staff to tend to, garbage to dispose of, a building to purge daily of contractor-produced dirt and dust, a full-time punch-list crew to direct, toilets to snake and drains to clean and a shiny brand new lobby to keep shining and brand new. Itís an extraordinary orchestra to conduct.

In short, to say Iíve been busy is a stark understatement; Iíve done very little outside of working in this building for the past 15 months. Many times I collapsed on my bed at the end of a very long day, too tired to shower OR eat, and still with a full plate (not one piled high with food). Iíve had to temporarily postpone classes, and my teenager wonders why he never sees me all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed anymore. Weekends are for recuperating Ė plain and simple.

How to face it all and keep your dignity, grace, poise and efficiency intact? A good thing thatís come out of all this is Iím learning to delegate work.

Iím the sort of person who likes to do it all myself. Thereís nothing I cannot do if I try, and I like to try. Because itís all a challenge, and a good challenge keeps life interesting. And an interesting existence is, well... how many synonyms are there for ďstimulatingĒ?

But when demands are made to the breadth and depth that Iíve experienced in the past year, Iíve often become discouraged, especially when Iíve gotten overly tired. Itís neither the sheer volume of demands nor is it the velocity with which they come in that frustrates or discourages. Itís not the decibel level of complaints, or from whom. Mostly the frustration, when it emerges, comes from facing the fact that I cannot accomplish all that is asked of me in a dayís time.

Assigning work to others becomes a necessity, not a luxury. Meeting the needs of your residents is part of being a super in a luxury condominium; delegating work, even delegating authority, becomes less a choice and more an unqualified necessity. Your work becomes a series of choices you must make between what is very important and what is MORE important. At its worst itís like triage in a hospital emergency room, with the key difference being that, although many of the demands made are designed to sound like life-or-death, thankfully they are not. You canít make everyone happy, but you must make choices on the fly and under pressure.

The work of a superintendent or resident manager is quite complex and requires numerous hands trained in wide-ranging disciplines, and demands come so thick and fast that one person cannot do it all. You must have help. To let go and let others fill in is an easy choice for some people. For others, itís not a first choice and requires a learned response.

Whether itís an assistant superintendent, a porter, handyman or an outside contractor, you must find trusted deputies, those you can rely on to help you fill in the gap between what needs to be done and what can be accomplished on any given day.

Delegating work is a good skill to learn in any profession, and one that is vital for the super to seize and to make a part of how he or she performs the job.

Like a proper workaholic, I sometimes find myself reverting to my previous ways: getting into that skeptical mindset predicting that if I donít do it, it wonít get done correctly, on time, or at all. I have to figuratively grab that ďíholicĒ by the shoulders, shake him and say, Donít be brainless, brother - you cannot do it all. You will need assistance, today and every day.

So select. Assign responsibility. Designate. Delegate some of todayís essential labors, those that are beyond your reach.

Tomorrow is another day, when again you will need help, and again you will expect and get positive efforts from your trusted colleagues. So you will accomplish much. And so it goes.


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