Attending last week’s SCA National Strata Convention in Alice Springs, I had the privilege of meeting an Alice-based strata manager (perhaps one of the Alice’s ONLY strata managers…? You don’t regularly hear “high rise” in the same sentence as “Alice Springs”). This manager, who absolutely loved his job, shared with me some of his experiences managing multi-occupancy buildings in the Northern Territory.

We talked about “what makes a good strata manager” and he gave me his insight: “To be a good strata manager, you have to be a bit of a mongrel.” I laughed, but the colourful description has stuck with me.

When I translate this from “NT-speak” and consider the context of our conversation, I think he was talking about:

  • Being tough
  • Being prepared to do battle, hopefully for your owners, but sometimes with your owners (when you know what’s best and they need the benefit of your expertise)
  • Knowing your stuff and not letting anyone take advantage of you
  • Being ruthless, when called for.

When I interviewed Reena Van Aalst for my podcast on this very topic, in addition to traits similar to the above, she outlined that a good strata manager has strong personal skills, from effective body language to the ability to get on well with others in the office. According to Reena, great strata managers also have well developed professional skills in useful areas such as accounting, finance, project management and HR.

The dictionary definition of ‘mongrel’ is “any animal resulting from the crossing of different breeds or types”, and whether he meant it or not, I think my friend the Alice Springs strata manager hit the nail on the head: great strata managers are all types of weird and wonderful, with successful managers having the skills of many different types of professionals. In my mind, this makes strata managers a pretty special breed and one that should be highly valued and respected, both by their fellow professionals and the clients they serve.

So, what do you think? Is there a bit of “mongrel” in you?

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