Find Your People

Find Your People

Healthy relationships and working alongside people that share your outlook and compliment your weaknesses can propel your business and mental health to new heights. Just the same, negative cultures, toxic relationships, and personality friction can sap the life out of you and hurt your potential. Denise shares advice for dealing with unhealthy relationships.

There are a number of items that can spell success or failure in a real estate agent's business. Many of these items are under an agent's control - activities that keep an agent top-of-mind with past clients like mailing consistently to a farm and of course, doing a great job with buyers and sellers they are currently working with. However, there are a number of threats that are outside of an agent's control: what the Fed does with interest rates, whether it makes financial sense for a seller to sell, or how much new construction builders build. Today I want to talk about a different kind of threat: the threat of people who aren't a good fit for you.

Unhealthy Relationships

Occasionally we have a client who does us in, a client who makes us question whether we are in the right business and has us wanting to throw in the towel. Sometimes we have to complete a transaction with an agent who makes us crazy. We may even have an agent in our office that we just do not jive with. There are some agents who are very effected by friction like this and it is important to learn how to identify these situations and protect your energy.

If you don't develop tools for dealing with people that have the potential to suck the life out of you, this will continue to affect you time and time again. The best tool you have is you! By controlling how you react and set your boundaries will ultimately impact how you feel about the situation. You cannot control their behavior, but you can control your behavior.

I can't help but think of Star Trek when thinking about this topic. Get nerdy with me for a moment. When a threat is near, what direction does the captain give? "Shields Up!"

This is a great way to tell yourself that it is time to go on the defensive. And by defensive, I mean taking a few small steps to protect yourself such as:

1Limit your interactions. This means that you don't add fuel to the fire. Your goal is to get out of the situation unscathed. Be calm and cool.
2Make a boundary and stick to it. Whether it is your hours of operation, an expectation of treatment, or the bottom line, there is a reason you set those boundaries in the first place.

As I like to say when dealing with conflict, remain strong, calm, and firm. Get into the mindset to be supercool. Like Teflon, let the negativity slide right off you.

I hear some of you saying, "What if my situation isn't a one-off and I am surrounded by people sucking away my energy." When you find yourself surrounded by so much negativity then it is time to make a change. This is the year you need to FIND YOUR PEOPLE!

Unhealthy Environments

There is nothing like being with a group of people who are enthusiastic, empowering, and ready to tackle the world. Likewise, there is nothing like being with a group of people who are negative, who think the sky is falling, and who make excuses for their lack of performance rather than hunkering down. They may be nay-sayers. Are you experiencing negativity in places like the following?

  • Your brokerage.
  • In your volunteer activities and networking groups.
  • At home.

By "environment" I mean pretty much anywhere you are when you are not by yourself!

Ongoing negativity like this can have a detrimental effect on your mindset, your business, and your interactions with others. If you are feeling like your environments are dragging you down, ask yourself the following:

  • Is it just one or two people in these environments? If so, can you limit your engagement and "Shields Up!" whenever possible? If it can be contained and you can work with it, then be aware of it and play defense.
  • Is it an entire culture? If we are talking about everyone or we are talking about the leadership of your environment, then change is needed. This is where I will be focusing the rest of today's article.

Escaping Negative Culture

I have worked with a lot of agents over the years who are highly affected by negativity or neglect. Real estate agents are people-people who need positive energy around them. If they are deprived of that or are surrounded by negative energy, it will wear an agent down.

For example, I was working with an agent a few years ago who loved her office. It was a great place for her to be and her managing broker was someone who everyone in the industry looked up to. She had a consistent meeting schedule and was always providing information of value to her agents. The office culture was positive and full of good energy for that agent. So, what happened? The managing broker retired and her replacement was someone who had a completely different outlook and approach. He didn't hold meetings the same way as the previous manager, had very stringent communication schedule with the agents which meant a few times when she had an imploding deal, she had trouble getting support. He was constantly bringing in bad news and warnings and, according to this agent, had a "sky is falling" attitude. This changed the entire dynamic of the office.

What is important here is that this was a change in management style, not that it is necessarily good or bad, but his style was not a good fit for this agent. As a result, she found herself avoiding the office or calling him with transactional questions. Her relationship with her office became more and more strained. Ultimately, she decided she could not work with the manager and ended up leaving the office with the goal of finding her people.

I have worked with other agents whose office environment is downright toxic because a few disruptive agents are allowed to behave badly. It brings the morale of the office down and there just aren't enough reasons to stay. In those cases, it might be time for the agent to find their people.

Some agents have also had this experience in networking groups or volunteer organizations. It doesn't seem to matter what the cause is; the group dynamic can be detrimental if the people running the show are grating. The cause may be right, but the people were wrong. These agents needed to find their people.

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Finding Your People

I encourage you to take some time this week to analyze your environments. Be aware of the energy that is good for you and the energy that is bad for you. Do you have a one-off situation that can be contained with your "Shields Up!"? If not, maybe it is time to take more evasive action, redefine your environment, and find your people?

It can be difficult leaving an office or a group that you have invested your time in. Start by asking yourself, "Could I be more productive or contribute more if I was a member of a group that shares a similar outlook and goals?"

For example, one of my agent clients was a member of a committee that was designed to provide support for the local schools. She joined that committee because she believed in the mission. However, what she quickly learned was there was a very toxic dynamic between two of the Board members. It was at the point that their conflict was always THE topic of conversation and the committee was otherwise ineffective. Nothing else could get accomplished. This committee also took several hours of this agent's time per month. The cause was right, but the people were wrong. I encouraged her to take her passion for helping the schools and look around for another committee with people who were more focused on getting things done than being right.

Remember, it isn't necessarily about one person being right and one person being wrong. Sometimes someone is not the right person for someone else. Sometimes the environment or group dynamic isn't the right fit.

This year, give yourself permission to let go of environments and people that are no longer serving you well. Take some time to find your people. Your energy will flourish as a result!

By Denise Lones CSP, CMP, M.I.R.M.
The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones has over three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development and more, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.