The Politics of Mistakes

By Lissa Breault


Who are you? In the grand scheme of being an RCM, who are you?

Are you the business owner who now has to answer for everyone else’s mistakes and promise up to half your kingdom that it will never happen again? Are you the owner everyone feels should know everything about everyone and be expected to apologize for others’ behaviours? Are you the boss to unforgiving and demanding staff with expectations of you that are so high, yet they cannot reach them themselves? Or does your boss shame you openly for your mistakes and perceived shortcomings, thinking that it’s how you’re going to learn?

Are you the new kid on the block, and every mistake makes you feel like you are in high school again, with your peers sneering in the background at those rookie mistakes, feeling like no matter how good you truly are, it always seems you can do no right?

Are you an experienced RCM that made a terrible mistake that you probably should have known better about, and it got you reassigned, or worse, fired? 

Are you the manager who now has a bitter owner with a long memory on the board, the one with whom you locked horns, and now as a board member, they fervently look for opportunities to exploit your mistakes and question your ability to serve their community? 

Listen to me; I know who you are! You are an AMAZING and CARING human being. You have a firm resolve; because this job is not for the faint of heart. You have skills that no one else brings to the team, and that makes you perfectly suited to do this job! You are AWESOME!

I have been reading the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. On page 75, under the title The Social Mirror, it reads, “These visions are disjointed and out of proportion. They are often more projections than reflections, projecting the concerns and character weaknesses of people giving the input rather than accurately reflecting what we are.” This was a revelation to me and brought so much resolve when dealing with these adverse situations. It freed my humanity.  

We make mistakes all the time, big and small, and we will keep making mistakes. It is like laundry; it will never end, but with attention and diligence, it can become less daunting!  We must own our mistakes and move on. We learn from them, and we get better! F-A-I-L stands for “First Attempt In Learning.” So, if you fail, be kind to yourself, let it go and choose to see things from a different perspective. Every one of these situations provides you with the opportunity to strengthen your people skills, up your administrative game, and be better at serving your community. 

I have a sign on my desk that says, “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” I have framed it along with this statement, “They show you where you can improve!” So be kind and forgive yourself when no one else will. Shift your perspective the next time someone wants to make an example or a mockery of you and be the change you want to see. You may not be able to do anything about their shortcomings or stop them from being so critical, but you can certainly choose how you will react. Turn these opportunities into personal victories and be awesome. I know you are amazing; I want to be more like you! 

Lissa A. Breault, RCM, is a senior condominium manager and CEO of Stratford Management Inc. She has been involved in property management for over 30 years and transitioned her skills to condominiums in 2015.  She oversees 500+ units ranging from life leases and townhomes to apartments and upscale conversions. She can be reached at