When emotions are high…pause
“Speak when you’re angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” — Ambrose Bierce
Timely tips for cooling down when emotions are high!
It’s already the 21st of the month and again no rent. You were patient last month, but this month you’re not! If you hadn’t been pursuing this tenant for weeks – by phone, email, text, in person – you might be calmer, but now you’re mad! YOU ALSO NEED TO BUY FOOD AND PAY YOUR PHONE BILL TOO!
If you’re like most, you feel like lashing out at this tenant. And you feel quite justified to do so given what you’ve been through. Will expressing this anger really help, though? Will it get what you really want? For sure you want the rent. But don’t you also want the kind of relationship that will make it most likely that even your toughest tenants will pay the rent on time next month — and the month after that? You can always exercise your rights. Why not also pursue your tenant’s cooperation before resorting to rights, threats and expensive court procedures?
Being angry is a part of life. How well we express it, though, can make or break your success as a landlord. If done without yelling or blaming, conveying anger can increase your effectiveness. When our anger gets a hold of us, however, we can speak our minds but destroy relationships and cooperation when it’s most needed!
How can you curb your anger when the feelings are so strong? We know how overpowering the urge is to lash out when we feel angry. “Speak when you’re angry, though, and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret*” A more deliberate approach — curbing the anger while applying diplomacy skills — can improve your tenant relationship AND secure the rent.
Here are four tips for effectively managing anger the next time you need to negotiate but feel overwhelmed by it.
- Pause: Do not make any decisions when you’re angry. Before taking any action with your tenant, take four long, slow, deep breaths, or do whatever works for you to reduce your anger. When you are calm and clear-headed, you will be in a better place to proceed.
- Talk to someone, write it down, walk it off, or do anything else that can allow your composure to return. Find a friend, family member, neighbor, coworker, colleague, or anyone who has the time to hear you out and can give you his or her complete attention. Creating an opportunity to talk it out can make a huge difference. You need to be able to think clearly before AND during contact with your tenant.
- Prepare before you make contact with your tenant: Consider how you want to have contact with your tenant. What form of communication will be best? You can try a more reasoned approach this time. Your goal should be to get a workable agreement with your tenant without the use of threats unless absolutely needed.
- Listen and learn: Although it may be contrary to your instincts, try seeking first to understand before being understood. Ask your tenant what’s going on before you respond. (Listening by the way doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree). When your tenant is able to feel acknowledged and understood, s/he may then be receptive and agreeable to your requests.
In our experience, this approach can get you bottom line results more quickly and at much lower cost. You’ll be happier as well!