President's Pen September/October 2018

Posted By: Claire Michael TAA News & Updates, the ApartMentor,

September is a time for us to send our little ones off to school and give ourselves the opportunity to finally be able to accomplish some of the things we put off during the warm summer months. For the Nominating Committee, the month of September marks an end to the many hours that were devoted to selecting the 2019 TAA Board of Directors. The committee interviewed 12 incredible candidates that will fill 4 vacancies on the Board. It was not an easy decision to find the right balance of talent to serve our membership, but after much deliberation decisions were made. Look out for the announcement of these future leaders in the coming months. For me personally, the selection of these individuals made me reflect on something that is paramount to our industry and to life in general; leadership and what it means to be an effective mentor.

Some conventional wisdom suggests that good leaders are simply born and that it’s something you either have or don’t have. But, I would argue that this is not true.

You can become a great leader through proper training and by learning from those that you admire and respect. Through coaching, and following the examples of valuable mentors, we can hopefully mimic those that we most revere. Simultaneously, we sometimes derive the best tips from ineffective leaders, noting the mistakes they make and promising ourselves to never make those same errors.

Here are several excellent qualities that have I found prevalent in some of the most effective leaders:

Lead with integrity

C.S Lewis once said, 'Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching'. Integrity requires that you always be honest and do what you say you will. People respect honest leaders because they produce honest actions. The first job of a leader is to inspire trust and build it daily, and great leaders know that trust must be given if it's going to be earned.

Communicate to connect

Communication is vital, and that means not only expressing your thoughts while offering guidance and solutions, but also listening. Connect by finding commonality with those around you, and never underestimate the power of the smallest interaction.

Recognize accomplishments

Appreciate and support your team members by giving genuine thanks. Everyone wants to be appreciated and told when they do a good job! Recognize your team members for what they do and reward them when they do great work.

Lead by example

It is essential you show your team members that you are one of the team. Great leaders see themselves as being in a position of support and believe they are there to service their counterparts. This means doing the work alongside them and staying through the tough situations. Your team members are watching your every move and will emulate you!

Develop your team

A good leader has faith in their own ability to train and develop their employees. This willingness and ability to empower will lead them to act autonomously. I have found the best way to accomplish this is with guidance, not explicit direction. Ask questions that will result in your team members finding their own solutions so they can handle challenges and make decisions on their own. Be conscious about not doing the work for them, instead offer the tools and guidance that will help them be successful.


Regardless of how smart and creative you may be as a leader, you will always get better results through productive collaboration. When you share brain power with your team members you will accomplish a level of “buy-in” that could not occur without the union of input from different team members.

Be Inspirational

Share your passion and commitment to your company's core values and show enthusiasm. If you can inspire a group of people to believe in something, you can motivate them to do the work when you are not there. Enthusiasm is contagious, and leadership is about making your team more successful when you are present, and making sure it lasts even in your absence.

Serving as the President of the TAA this year has taught me leadership skills that I could not have anticipated. Those around me have provided guidance and advice that have been incorporated in my professional and personal life. What I have learned through my work with the TAA is that leadership is something we can all attain, it is just a matter of perseverance and paying attention to the valuable lessons from our best leaders.

Claire Michael, CAM

TAA President
Fairfield Residential, LLC



This article was originally published in the 2018 September/October issue of the ApartMentor magazine.