It has clearly been a difficult economic year for most people and businesses. The bad news has been continuous and every time there seems to be a sign that we may have turned the corner, another shoe drops. The real estate industry, including real estate owners and managers, has certainly not been immune from all of this. They have seen and felt the impact on their tenants, but have also recently heard about the direct impact on the fundamentals of their business. – Many recent news stories have pointed to commercial real estate debt maturities and rising defaults as the next big aftershock to be felt as a result of our prolonged economic crisis.

Your employees read the same stories and have understandable concerns about their jobs and livelihoods.  As managers, it is vitally important that we take the time and effort to understand those concerns and adjust our management and communication efforts in order to simultaneously assuage fears and maintain or even increase, productivity at a time when we need all of our people performing at their highest levels.

Effective leadership is more important than ever to keep your real estate operations team performing as well as they possibly can.   Apply the following three simple principles to help keep your employees calm and focused during these challenging times; Communication, Education & Expectation (C.E.E.)

Communication – Effective communication has always been a hallmark of a great manager and an effective leader.  You need your team looking to you for information and an understanding of what the news they are reading means to them and their job. Stay ahead of the stories to help them understand what is really going on and to separate the fact from the fiction.

Education – A lot of the stories and financial issues reported are complicated and can be often be confusing and misleading. If important industry or company-related stories come out, do your best to explain any complicated details to your team and what the real or potential  impact is to them.

Expectations – After you have done a good job of communicating with and educating your team about what they are hearing or reading, it is important that you re-focus them on the task at hand. We all need a reminder that as long as we have our jobs, we have a job to do. You don’t want people looking at news sites or stock tickers during the day when they are supposed to be working.  It is important that you re-state what kind of performance you are expecting and that the need now, more than ever, is to do a great job for your tenants, to pay attention to costs and to manage your risk and liability more closely than they ever have.

Apply these three simple tools to your daily interactions and management activities and you will help your company and your team CEE their way through these challenging times.