Famous last words of many ill-fated kings, queens, commanders… and real estate team leaders who thought their people would continue in unwavering support under any circumstance.
But true leadership is a dynamic endeavor that consistently evolves, especially in an industry as heavily impacted by changes as Real Estate. For a brokerage to succeed and excel you have to focus on doing the right things, but recognizing the signs that your team might be about to fall apart is just as crucial.
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” --Peter F. Drucker
If you think your team will never leave because you have zero conflict, the opposite is probably true. I know! Crazy, right? But great teams have become great as the result of healthy conflict. Strong teams have conflict, and they recognize that if they are growing, they will encounter new challenges with differing opinions on how to deal with those challenges.
Growth comes when you have ways to address, discuss and resolve issues in place for when conflict happens. The absence of conflict is the first sign a leader is not connecting with their team and trouble is on the horizon.
When a leader finds themselves dealing only with the “squeaky wheel” agents on their team who complain the most and the loudest, their “A” people are about to leave. I see this happen over and over. Team leads get pulled in so many directions and find themselves dealing with the low producers or the agents who seem always to have a crisis in their world. This means you unintentionally ignore those on their team that are consistent and high producing leaving your best team members feeling neglected and looking for better opportunities.
Everyone has a backpack to carry. In the backpack is everything that needs to get done for them to reach their goals.
Here is where so many leaders love their people to failure: “Let me unpack that.”
Leaders love their people so when a team member comes to them with an issue like, “I don’t know how to get more leads,” what happens? Some leaders say, “Let me help and I will figure out how to get you more lead.” If this is you, in essence, you’re picking up their backpack.
The problem is if you already have a backpack and then pick up their backpack, you now have two backpacks to carry, and the team member isn’t learning how to carry their load. Great leaders don’t pick up backpacks; they teach others how to become great at carrying their own backpacks.
Nothing is worse than shaking someone’s hand and getting a limp noodle hand wiggle. Conversely reaching out to shake someone’s hand and receiving the bodybuilder death grip is equally unnerving. The whole world just functions better with a standard handshake. This is the problem with many teams as they struggle to find the balance between no standards (limp noodle) and ridged standards (death grip).
Having no standards of performance and expectations for a team doesn’t work, but having requirements that are so strict that team members feel crushed and leave isn’t the answer. An effective team that outlasts others is the one that finds the right balance between severe team standards and a more success-instigating structure of standards that support both the business and the people working in it.
This reason might be the hardest to confront, as it is the most personal. After coaching over 5,000 agents, it has become clear this is a major contender for the top reason team members leave. When the team leader’s life is work 24/7, have zero fun, and complain about being broke all the time where is the motivation for your team to continue this path? The most natural question is, “Why would I follow someone who can’t figure their own stuff out?”
As John Maxwell would say, you are the lid of your business. You will only attract and keep great agents if your continuing to show them there is a way to an incredible life.
If you want to build an incredible team and keep great team members you need to know what they want:
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