Although it’s never easy to leave a team, sometimes it’s the right move. Let these five points be signs you should look reality in the face and take that important next step for your career.

This July, Inman’s editorial theme is Teams — what it takes to build and join one, how to optimize your team for summer 2020, and even when to consider leaving one. And if you’re not already a subscriber to our Teams Beat email newsletter, sent every Thursday, sign up now.

Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” Who could argue that? People join smaller squads because they can go much farther and faster with a group of like-minded professionals.

Teams have become a big part of the real estate industry over the past decade. Some of the most impressive real estate sales numbers in the U.S. come from incredibly talented groups collaborating within large brokerages.

On the flip side, there are also small organizations that struggle to get off the ground. Teams are often structured differently from one another, making them all unique.

If you’ve been working within a small real estate team and feel like it’s time to move on, this article may help. I’ve been a licensed Realtor for 11 years in two different states. I’ve worked on teams, operated solo and even ran a small brokerage.

All to say, this is a topic that’s near to my heart. I’d like to share with you five signs that it might be time to leave your team and move on.

1. There’s nothing left to learn

When teams collaborate well, the opportunity to learn new things is tremendous. Your time working within a group can be like drinking from a fire hose of knowledge and experience.

When new members join in, the perspective changes even more, and fresh ideas are formed. This benefit is one of the greatest assets of working within a professional group. Knowledge is gained much faster than with a solo effort.

However, over time, new nuggets of information will come by less frequently. After all, there is only so much you can learn within your career. When you start to hear the same ideas regurgitated over and over again, it may zap your energy.

If you’re not learning new things or gaining inspiration by new ideas within your team, it’s time to move on. A new lineup with some great top producers could spark new ideas that raise your game. It’s also possible that there’s nothing left to learn, and you should go solo or start your own team. You’ll have to do some deep soul-searching to find out.

2. Your network outgrew your team

Many of the agents I know personally join teams because they need more business. These groups may offer a steady flow of leads that help decrease the stress of finding their own new business.

Teams can be great connectors between you and your next client. Most small real estate organizations have full-time lead generation experts who keep the funnel full of good prospects.

Once you’ve been working your organization’s leads for a few years, you may be too busy with your network to take on new business. Your past clients from two or three years ago will reach out to you, and your network will naturally grow.

If you start a team because you need leads, but then find you no longer need the extra work, it’s time for a change. You may need to talk to your group’s leader about a different business arrangement than you originally agreed upon.

If you’re so busy that you haven’t taken any new leads from your group in over six months, it’s probably time to go solo so you can keep more of your money. Team splits can be very expensive and a drain on your finances. The model is not worth it if you’re not benefiting from their setup.

3. The energy is gone

Joe Rogan once said, “There’s a direct correlation between positive energy and positive results.” This statement is incredibly accurate. When a team has good energy, it tends to raise the productivity level of every member.

The hardest part about being a real estate agent is that you are an independent contractor responsible for your own business. Many agents have a hard time getting motivated to build their business proactively as a solo agent. The energy you get from a team is a great asset to kick-start your career and help you grow.

As with any team, the dynamics can change over time. New groups tend to start with tons of energy, but slowly dial it down. Reality starts to sink in, and the newness wears off.

If you’re having a hard time getting your real estate business going because your team lacks energy and motivation, it might be time to change things up. This fact is a hard truth to face while it’s happening.

Leaving a team with low energy and joining a new squad can kick-start your business. Try having lunch with members from different organizations, and see if you notice a change in your perspective afterward. Then, assess whether it’s time to move on.

4. Your time is wasted

Wasted time is one of the leading killers of small businesses. When a business is doing well, many find that there is usually is not enough time to keep up. Efficiency at work means more free time at home. Great teams manage time well and make sure that it’s rarely wasted.

If you’re on a team that sucks your time away, it’s time to move on. Out of all the points mentioned here, this one’s the most critical. Time is money, and money is why you’re in business. Protect your hours above all else!

Real estate can absorb time like no other force. If you start off with a to-do list for the day and never get to it because you’re constantly interrupted by people, your business will suffer from it. Your relationships with your clients, friends and family will suffer as well.

I highly recommend that you log your hours and activities when you’re at work. Track how many hours you spend with your team each week, and compare that with how many hours you spend with your clients. You may be surprised to find how much time you’re losing. If you’re losing time to your small group, evaluate whether the payoff on that time is worth it.

5. The culture is toxic

It would seem that working within a toxic culture would naturally be something to avoid. This point is the No. 1 reason many people leave a team. It’s a real problem that can be embarrassing to address.

Real estate sales organizations can take on many different personality types. Some groups never socialize together, while others like to go to the bar after work every day. Some squads are obsessed with who sold the most homes last month, while others don’t even track their numbers. Their personalities can be wildly different.

If the makeup of your team does not fit your personal beliefs, it will surely drain you over time. Do not submit and tolerate behavior that you don’t agree with. Your best option is to move on and find a new group or go out on your own.

If your work organization is abusive, you need to let people know. Toxic culture is a common problem in small businesses. If you’re currently in an environment with bad habits, I highly recommend that you respect yourself enough to get out. You owe this to yourself.

Final thoughts

Every time in my career that I’ve been challenged to quit a team, it has been difficult. It’s never easy to leave — even if you hate it there. The fear of telling someone that you found a new option can be crippling.

Focus on what’s on the other side of your change. What are you gaining by moving on? Make a pros and cons list, and go over it with your friends and family. The people who love you the most will be a great sounding board for your journey.

If the points mentioned above weigh heavily on you, please take the time to let them sink in. Find the strength to look reality square in the face, and choose your next steps. You never know what you’re missing until you go after it!

Andrew Fortune is the owner and managing broker of Great Colorado Homes, Inc. Connect with him on Facebook

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