Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for real estate staff.

Rate yourself on your management skills, so you’ll know what you need to work on prior to going into management (or if you’re already in management).

Are you thinking of going into management? Few of us knew the skills–or the level of skill attainment–we needed to succeed in the job. I want to help all of you who want to go into management to succeed at a high level. Thus, these blogs.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

In an earlier blog, I discussed the skills we need to have honed prior to going into management. In this blog, we’ll tackle getting those skills in certain areas.

At the end of this blog: grab my assessment tool I use in my Leadership Mastery coaching series to help new managers plan for this skill attainment.

The Biggest Skill Area Managers Need Today to Succeed

What do you think it is? It’s recruiting and selecting skill. Why? Because, there’s so much competition for good agents that a manager just can’t sit back and wait for agents to come to them. It isn’t the old days (although I never was able to do that in my ‘old days!’).

These skills are the same skills good agents use to expand their businesses. That’s why we need to hire managers who have been successful recruiters and selectors. Notice I said recruiters and selectors. I know companies brag about how mahy gross recruits they landed that month or year, but, long-term, it’s those who stay, prosper, and grow with the company that add to the profitability of all.

One of the standards you need to create when you’re hiring a manager is

How successful was that agent as a business getter? What’s the number of transactions you would accept?

How to Get Recruiting and Selecting Skills

Your company may have a course focusing on these skills. If so, take it prior to going into management. Overall, the best courses out there for management are the CRB courses, leading to the Certified Real Estate Broker designation. I highly recommend them. Here’s the link.

What’s Your Agent Track Record?

In addition, if you don’t have a track record of at least 12-20 transactions a year as an agent, in my opinion, you have not developed the skills in recruiting and selecting you will need as a successful agent. It’s my experience that agents who didn’t actively lead generate will carry that habit into management. They will balk at lead generating for agents, and they will fight upper management to the death–and to everyone’s detriment.

Resource (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

Grab the leadership skill assessment here.

Managers or general managers: If you’re hiring a new manager, help them evaluate their skill levels and then create a training and coaching program to assure they get those skills before they launch their management career.

Here’s how to find out if management is in your future–and how to prepare to succeed.

** See my prioritized job description of a manager as a handout–along with the number of hours I recommend you spend in each activity.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

In these blogs, I’ll make some recommendations to you about how to get those skills. Unfortunately, we go into management thinking either

  1. We have enough of the skills to succeed
  2. There aren’t skills needed to suceed in management
  3. I’ll learn ‘on the job’

The Best Management Training Courses Out There

Are you familiar with The CRB courses? These are offered by an arm of the National Association of Realtors, and are, by far, the best management courses out there.

Here’s the link: https://www.rebinstitute.com/. It’s called Real Estate Business Institute now. I highly recommend the courses.

When to take these courses? Before you go into management! They are offered throughout the United States (and some in Canada). I was an instructor with the Institute for 12 years, and so I know the value of these courses (I also took several of them prior to going into management).

Investigating Management

Have you interviewed at least 5 managers to find out what they do and how they got the skills to do it? If not, start your interviews now. You’ll find a wide range of management descriptions, of course. Some managers will describe what I call ‘maintenance management’–keeping the place running by doing administrative duties and listening to agent complaints. That’s not what it takes today to succeed in ‘active’ management. In fact, I think a great manager can be compared best to a great or mega-agent.

Questions you’ll want to ask:

  1. What’s your biggest challenge in management?
  2. What’s your biggest win?
  3. What’s different from management than you thought before you went into management?
  4. How do you create a real team?
  5. How do you recruit?
  6. How did you prepare to go into management?

Suggestion: Ask for a copy of the manager’s job description. I’ll bet few of them have ever seen one!

Here’s the link to the prioritized manager’s job description.

Another way to prepare to go into management: See my management resources at www.carlacross.com. 

Want to go into management? Try ‘perfect practice’ to get the skills you need BEFORE you jump into the job.

This month, I’m taking what I’ve learned as a musical performer from age 4 to the world of leadership and sales. (And, read my musical quotes at the end of each blog. I hope you’ll get a chuckle!)

Are You Prepared–or Just Hopeful?

My son owns a real estate company, and I help him initially screen candidates for manager and assistant manager. He has created a very detailed job description for any of those applying. Yet, we see two problems:

  1. Most of the candidates do not meet the qualifications the job requires
  2. Even the borrderline candidates have done nothing to prepare themselves for the job

For several years, I was a regional director of now the largest real estate company in the world. One of my jobs was finding and screening leadership. Boy, did I learn a lot! So, with that experience, I’m writing some tips here for those of you who want to step from sales into management (and for those looking for leadership). I’m not going to address the first problem. For example, some candidates just haven’t had job experience of any type in real estate. Although I know there are exceptions, generally, if you haven’t successfully sold real estate, you won’t understand, emphasize and be able to ‘develop’ agents successfully.

The Principle to Prepare: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Of course, this principle comes from my world of music. I learned this from my college piano professor.

. That means hundreds or thousands of hours in the practice room, not in performing! (In other words, you have to practice your little heart out before they’ll let you loose in front of discerning people!) It’s drudgery and you wonder what you’re accomplishing. But, this perfect practice pays off when you have to perform in front of thousands and put to use your ‘muscle memory’. When you’re performing all those notes so quickly, you don’t have time to consciously figure out where your fingers should go (just like you do’t have time in an interview to figure out a good interview process!!!!)

What This Means to Your Preparation for Management

Here’s a straightforward job description for a successful leadership-manager:

Find and develop people

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

How Are You going to Develop Those Skills–Before You Get into Performance?

Go through the checklist/description above. Ask yourself: Have you devleoped those skills? If not, are you going to wait and ‘wing it’ on the job? As a pianist, I wouldn’t dare ever get in front of people to perform without having practiced!

Next blog: Suggestions in how to do that perfect practice in each of these areas.

Managers: Share this blog with those who are interested in going into leadership. In later blogs, I’ll share some analytical tools I’ve developed to help you help others develop their leadership skills.

Just for chuckles:

“I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.” — Woody Allen

Here’s how to avoid hiring the agent from hell!

Let’s be honest. Have you ever hired someone and found out it was the ‘hire from hell’? If you haven’t, you just haven’t hired enough agents or staff! Many managers tell me that the hardest thing they have to do is to hire staff. I think that’s because most of us never had any training in how to hire staff (or hire agents, for that matter).

After a 3-day management symposium I taught in South Carolina, one of the attendees emailed me: “Can you give me some tips to assure I don’t make a hiring mistake with staff? If any of us hasn’t made mistakes hiring staff, please comment! I know I’ve made many–and that’s why I’ve developed the tips here. This tips work for hiring agents or staff.

And, these tips work for agents hiring team members. (Managers: forward this to your agents who want or have teams).

So, here are four surefire tips for you.
1. Create the right kind of questions from your job description
Using that job description you created (you did create one, didn’t you?) for your agent or staff position, create past-based questions that tell you if the candidate has the skills and qualities you need. For example. You’re looking for someone who cares about the company. Here’s the question: “In your past jobs, give me 3 examples of how you watched out for the company’s best interests.” Listen and probe. Here’s an example for hiring agents. Let’s say you want an agent who is a ‘self-starter. The question: “Was there a time in your past when you wanted something badly, and you went out and got some kind of job to earn it?” Listen and probe.
For more information on behavioral predictors, see The Complete Recruiter and my eBook on interviewing, Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners.
2. Follow a planned, proven interview process to assure you get all the information you need
Most of us don’t interview; we, just sell. We don’t find out the ‘secrets’ about the candidate, but, the candidate sure finds out about us! If you need a proven process, see Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners. I created 8 steps to use each time for a smooth, professional interview.
3. Use a Behavioral Profile
I’d also suggest you use a behavioral profile, for those who pass your first interview. Use it to gather information prior to your second interview. In our coaching company, we use Michael Abelson’s: www.abelson.net. It’s well worth it because you find out things that are very hard to discover in the ‘live’ interview. Then, you go back and ask more past-based questions about those areas. That’s called ‘validating’.
P. S.
4. Check references “3 deep”
Be sure to check references–not just the ones the candidate gives you, but go ‘3 deep’. That means to ask the people the candidate gives you, ‘Who else could I contact about this candidate’? Go 2 people deep from each of the names the candidate gives you. That way, you’re sure to get a better, less biased picture of the candidate. You’ll find you learn a lot from people who weren’t ‘direct references’!
Now, you have those four surefire tips to avoid staff hiring mistakes. Let me know how they work for you!

eBook Cover(2)You work so hard to gain those interviews. But, do you have planned interview process that assures you pick winners? (And assures the candidates are impressed with you….) Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners, with new information about what desired agents of today are looking for, is a guide to create your unique attractors, how to put together a powerful presentation, and a completely new video showing exactly how to craft the best ‘crystal ball’ type of questions. Learn more here.

bus-plan-7-teamHere are the nine big signs your manager must be fired–and some are obvious–but others are just as important but often ignored until it is way too late!

In the next few blogs, I’ll focus on ownership/general manager issues.A� The reason I’m writing this blog is that, I am seeing managers go off the rails and try to take the office with them! Unfortunately, clever managers get the support of their agents while not managing properly. With their popularity, the ‘boss’ may hesitate firing them–even when they need desperately to be fired!

Managers are Clever at ‘Buying’ Support–Especially when under Stress

Some get that support by ‘buying’ the agents–giving their favorites leads. Some get that support by creating a flurry of activity, that obscures what’s really going on behind the scenes. I know how hard it is to tell, from an agent’s perspective, if the manager is doing his/her job. As an agent myself, I watched from afar, not knowing exactly what my manager did or didn’t do. I also didn’t know the activities he was supposed to be doing–and the activities he was avoiding or refusing to do.

I’ve screened, hired and coached dozens of managers, both as a regional director for one of the largest franchises in the world, and as an independent coach. I have seen things go off the rails many times–even when the agents in the office don’t have a clue!

The Nine Signs Your Manager Must Leave

1. Refuses to recruit to your standards (minimums)–that means numbers of contacts, interviews, and hires.

2. Refuses to hire to your standards–hires anyone and calls it ‘good’.

3. Refuses to coach agents up–or out; refuses to manage via standards (minimums) of performance.

4. Refuses to do the activities as designated and trained to by the general manager (such as interviewing appropriately or teaching to your culture).

5. Refuses to uphold all aspects of the culture (hires an agent who’s a top producer but doesn’t represent the culture).

6. Takes frustrations and problems with upper management to the agents, when he/she should only discuss any problem areas directly with management.

7. Openly disrespects and berates upper management–both to agents and directly to management.

8. Acts in an adversarial and/or fearful way to anyone he perceives as an authority.

9. Shares things with agents that should not be shared.

In other words: the manager has become a liability to the culture and the office. He/she is not teaming with upper management; he doesn’t have the same vision as leadership; he is fighting for control. It’s your office and you’re the boss. You must exercise your authority now for the preservation and growth of your office.

What did I miss? Let me know and we’ll add to the list!

coaching hand upHave you made someone’s day today? Many times, we’re so caught up in our challenges and putting out fires we forget to give a little time to appreciating the positive actions others take. Yesterday, I got a very touching card in the mail from my friends at the Northwest Chapter of the National Speakers’ Association. I’ve been a member of National Speakers’ Association for over 2 decades, and have been very active in our chapter, although I’m not now. Even though I know only a few board members, they all took the time to write me a note for a challenge my family is experiencing. It not only made my day, it made me feel as though I had made a positive impression on their lives at some point!

So, if you want to lift yourself up, take the time to lift someone else up! It not only will make that person feel wonderful, it will make you feel wonderful.

Motivation and Appreciation

As managers and trainers, we know the need to motivate. Yet, most of us aren’t students of motivation. No need to memorize psychologists’ names or read thousands of pages on motivational theory. To motivate best, you just need to apply this key principle:

The best positive motivator is appreciation

What do you appreciate? I don’t mean necessarily trophies in front of thousands! (Some people hate that one!) I mean those little things. Why appreciate to motivate?

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

How often do you appreciate? Much more than you think! (When is the last time you heard someone grumble because they were appreciated? Not!)

One minute action for the day: Make a list of the different ways you motivate by appreciating. Now, tally the number of times you have motivated someone using one of your appreciation motivators this week. How high can you go? The more you appreciate, the better behavior you get.

For a list of 25 ways to appreciate, plus basic principles of motivation, click here.

Upping your appreciation motivation gets you something we managers yearn for: Appreciation for our hard work…..

Let Me Help Motivate your Agents to Greatness!

logoManagers have huge responsibilities. I know–I did that job for almost 2 decades! Let me help you. Up and Running in Real Estate has lots of positive motivation and encouragement built right in. It also has a coaching component, to make it easy for you to track your agents’ progress. Take a look. I’ll help you guide your agents, train your agents, and motivate your agents.

time management guy with clockManagers: Are you systemized–or, is your office piles of papers–that you can’t find when you need them? Are your systems up to speed? On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being high, how would you rate your organization and your systems? Do you seem to be grabbing at papers right before your recruiting appointment? Do you find yourself sketching a training outline five minutes prior to the training start time? If so, youa��ll want to take some time to a�?systematizea�? yourself. Why?

Save time

Get more done

Lower your stress levels

Enjoy your job more

(See the end of this blog for a link to systems you need in place).

Why do Managers Need Systems?

Good agents today have systems for each process they manage. For example, an agent has a listing process system, which includes the materials, packages, and checklists to manage the process. With those systems, agents can not only the manage the process, they can delegate the right activities to their assistants. (See my blog link at the end of this blog for systems agents need).

Managers Dona��t Have Nearly the Systems Agents Have

Think about the systems, processes, and checklists you, as manager, recommend that your agent create to accomplish the critical tasks, or activities, in his business. Now, compare that with the tasks you, as manager, have to accomplish in your position as “people” manager. Work from the tasks to systems to manage these tasks. To prioritize the systems you want to develop, first:

1. List the tasks you do as manager. Now, list the parallel the tasks agents do.

An example: A critical task an agent does is to prospect. Good agents have systematized that process into a marketing plan, complete with specific tactics, dates, and budget. Managers must prospect, too. They prospect for agents.

Does your prospecting (recruiting) plan for agents resemble that of your best agent’s marketing plan? Is it as systematized? Does it have the materials, time frames, budgets, and delegations that good agents have in their plans?

2. Prioritize your tasks as they relate to accomplishing your main objectives. What are the most important tasks you do as manager to assure your office makes a profit?

An example: If recruiting is very important to reaching your objective, how complete is your recruiting system? How organized is it? Who is involved with you in your recruiting plan? How well are you delegating the systems?

Your Job Description Comes First

Developing systems first requires that you’ve prioritized your job description. (Wait: Do you have a job description?) Then, you must either create or purchase systems to manage these processes. One reason managers haven’t systematized their work is that managers have few resources for systems organization. To actually systematize their work, they must create these systems from scratch. Given the myriad of activities managers must accomplish, that’s a daunting assignment. Instead, many managers stay in “crisis” management, which admittedly takes up a lot of the day, but doesn’t allow the manager to move ahead as a leader.

In contrast, agents have many resources for systems organization, both purchased and exchanged with other agents. First, there are many more agents than managers, and agents coming into the business each day. So, there is a larger market, and need, for agents’ systems. In addition, agents have led the way in organizing their businesses to delegate to assistants. It’s become ‘the thing’ to do.

Resource List of Needed Systems

Click onA�Managers Package and SystematizeA�for a list of systems and process you need to manage your business with grace and lower your stress level.

Want to know what systems your agents need? Read my blog on systems for agents.

LM Cover

Let Me Help you Get your Systems in Place–and How to Use Them

It would take you years to create the systems I’ve already created–and are available in my one-on-one leadership coaching program, Leadership Mastery Coaching. If you’re tired of working too hard for too little pay-off, why not do a complimentary consultation and see how Leadership Mastery can benefit you? Click here to schedule your 1/2 hour appointment.

<p><a href=”https://getarealestatecoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/leadership-elements-qualities-25801327.jpg”><img class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-3525″ src=”https://getarealestatecoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/leadership-elements-qualities-25801327-300×246.jpg” alt=”http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-leadership-elements-qualities-image25801327″ width=”300″ height=”246″ /></a>This month, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends) of today and beyond. Look for leadership strategies and trends (not just in the real estate industry), plus ready-to-use documents to go from ‘maintenance management’ to leadership.</p>
<p><strong>Is your leadership style ‘tell them what to do and expect them to do it’? </strong>It seems so easy. Youa��re the chairperson or manager. Just take charge, tell people what to do, and theya��ll do it. NOT. Ita��s just not that simple. At least, ita��s not that simple unless systems are already in place and peopleA� know what their tasks are.</p>
<p><strong>Seven Truisms about Effective Participative LeadershipA�</strong></p>
<p>It’s not enough today to be good at a traditional leadership style. In fact, you have to really ‘turn your leadership style’ upside down to become effective. You must become a ‘participative’ leader. What is a ‘participative’ leader? One who coordinates, facilitates, and encourages input and collaboration.</p>
<p>Here are seven truisms to help you flex your natural style toward more participation from your team members.</p>
<p><em>Truism #1: New chair people don’t know what’s expected of them</em></p>
<p>Just because people accept the title it doesn’t mean they know how to proceed with the job. Most people have never chaired a committee, so they don’t have the skills. It’s especially challenging when it’s a new task. They need to have clear direction, a job description, job responsibilities, and exactly who to go to when the job doesn’t get done.</p>
<p><em>Truism #2: People don’t know HOW to get it doneA�</em></p>
<p>Even when people know what to do, they don’t usually have checklists, systems, deadlines, and assignments to get it done; it doesn’t work to leave it to a person (95% of the time, the other 5% will figure it out on their own) to decide how to get the job done.</p>
<p><em>Truism #3: Myth: “Leaders are theA� “idea people” and arena��t supposed to get into implementation (someone else will figure out how to get the work done)</em></p>
<p>When leaders say that, they immediately put others into the a�?secretarya�? mode. Their mentality is, someone else beneath them should be able to figure out how to get that done. Thata��s a secretarial or assistanta��s job, isna��t it? But, your committee members dona��t work for you. They work with you. You cana��t expect someone to raise his hand and offer to be your assistant because you came up with the idea.</p>
<p><em>Truism #4: Verbal-type people resist processes and systems</em></p>
<p>There is a natural resistance in us (maybe especially in we verbal-type people) to organizing processes and systems. We love to talk about the idea. We don’t like to clarify exactly how that idea gets into process.</p>
<p><em>Truism #5: We ‘big idea’ people think we can delegate systems design to an assistantA�A� </em></p>
<p>Having worked with assistants for over 15 years, I have found that not true. Assistants need help in systematizing any process that YOU want done. They are good at systematizing their own processes–but not good at all at systematizing ours!</p>
<p><em>Truism #6: Leaders know committees take most of their time REPORTING to the larger group, not deciding on issues or processes</em></p>
<p>A mistake that committees make is to try to design processes within the large committee meeting. Instead, create task forces to report back quickly to you.</p>
<p><em>Truism #7: When accountability factors aren’t built in, things don’t get done.</em></p>
<p>This is a dicey issue, because you’re working with volunteers. Or, in the case of a real estate company, with independent contractors. At the same time, your association or business also expects the services and programs you promised. There’s a great difference between “do it the way you want” and expecting results and “do it the way you want” and let’s check how it’s going regularly.</p>
<p><strong>Sharpening Your Participative Leadership Skills</strong></p>
<p>What truisms do you want to add from your experiences in leadership? What do you see of yourself in these truisms? How can these help you lead? What needs to be done inA� your leadership position to gain greater skills? These skills are learned over time, and the pay-off is an association or business that is a�?owneda�� by all those involved, with empowerment assured.</p>
<h2><a href=”https://getarealestatecoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/LM-Cover.jpg”><img class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-3455″ src=”https://getarealestatecoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/LM-Cover-286×300.jpg” alt=”LM Cover” width=”286″ height=”300″ /></a>Support for New Leadership Strategies</h2>
<p>We hear so many great ideas–but, when it comes to implementing them, they seem difficult or distant. And, it’s hard for us to have confidence in our ability to implement. Why not get the support you need to step ahead and lead your office or company to greatness? Your first step is simple, free, and will be informative. Request a ‘complimentary consultation’ to see how Carla’s unique one-on-one coaching program works, and how it may be able to help you get ahead faster and with more confidence. <a href=”http://carla-cross.com/coaching/complimentary-consultation/” target=”_blank”><strong>Click here</strong> </a>for more information and request. Read more about Leadership Mastery Coaching <a href=”http://carla-cross.com/coaching/leadership-mastery-coaching/” target=”_blank”><strong>here.</strong></a></p>