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Teamwork: Is the Team Concept Up to Date or Obsolete?


This January and February, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends) of 2012 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. And, check out my complimentary recorded A�webinar for leadership. See more below, too.

Yes, we real estate professionals are independent. We go into real estate to “be our own bosses”. We love to be “on our own”. In fact, in some offices, it’s become fashionable to say “we don’t need a team. We’re all entirely independent.” This shift to ‘on your own’ correlates to a shift in management from the autocratic style of twenty years ago (I’m the boss–follow the rules here), to the “operations” manager of today–providing the physical needs to work, and leaving the responsibility for the emotional needs of associates to someone else.

Which Way is the Shift Going Now?

Is the shift continuing? Is it good for the industry? Is it good for you, the individual salesperson? Should you isolate yourself from others to get the job done? Or, are we, by rejecting the idea of teamwork, working ourselves toward extinction? Perhaps successful businesses internationally have some value to us when it comes to this question. They see innovative ‘teaming’ as critical to their success in the twenty-first century. Lest we real estate professionals miss what may be a critical strategy for us, let’s take another look at ‘teamwork’.

A�Owners Reject the ‘Team’A� Concept

What do owners think about the ‘teamwork’ concept: When I was teaching a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) course on teamwork, I had some very interesting reactions and comments from students. About an hour into the course, a woman drew me aside, and told me that her company didn’t believe in teamwork. It was against the “culture”. She told me she hated teams. I was stunned at her vehemence, and found it hard to concentrate on the rest of the day’s curriculum. In addition, I had just rebuilt an office from “failing miserably” to spectacular, using teaming concepts.

What Did She Really Mean?

I asked myself, “Why did she have some an adverse reaction to that word?” Then, I remembered what she looked like, and had one of those ‘ahas’–those blinding flashes of the obvious. Remember when, in grade school, you picked sides for Red Rover Come Over? The good-looking athletic kids got picked first. The others shyly waited, anxiously hoping they wouldn’t be last, or worse yet, be the one the teacher ‘helped’: “Put Johnny on your side, please.” As I thought about those situations, all those depressive feelings came flooding back. No wonder that manager hated teams! In this time of lightning fast change, our emotions can stop us from investigating ideas that frighten us. Yet, it may be the very idea that you need for your business. As you continue reading, keep an open mind about this ‘team’ idea. It may be exactly what’s been missing in your moving from “just okay” to spectacular.A�

What a Team Isn’t

First, in the real estate industry, let’s clarify what we don’t mean today when we say ‘teams’. We don’t mean a bunch of people all being “pumped up”by a manager (or a salespeople, when you’re managing your own team), who resembles the cheerleader of the past. We don’t necessarily mean all the people in the office on one team at once. We don’t mean a lock-step mentality where one loses one’s independence. What we do mean is combining the talents of individuals so that we experience much more meaningful business lives.

A Definition of a TeamA�

A team is two or more people working on a meaningful task for a commonly shared goal, of common benefit to both or all members of the team. A team works well when the expertise of two or more people are more effective and efficient than each person working on his own. Because I’m a musician, I know the importance of teamwork in a musical ensemble. When I’m playing jazz piano with a bassist and a drummer, I must feel confident that we’re all together in this, that we’ll be sensitive to each other’s strengths and challenges, in harmony to produce the best version of that tune possible. There must be great interdependence on the talents of each of us, when such a goal is at stake. Yet, there’s great independence in the improvisations that we each bring to the tune. In the best team atmosphere, both interdependence and independence is nurtured and appreciated.

Do you have a team? Or, do you just have a group? In the next blog, we’ll explore the differences.A�

Leadership Strategies By the Month

A�Do you want to step into a better leadership style? Be more effecctive? Recruit more and better? I’ve created a very special, unique program for managers and owners: Once a month I share a specific leadershp strategy to recruit, choose, train, coach, and retain winners. These are proven strategies to get you out of a rut, take you past crisis management, and energize and inspire your team. See more at 365 Leadership. This new series closes for enrollment March 15. Find out more here.


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