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.
How you inspire, empower and lead your team is the difference between a mediocre team and an epic one. If you’re ready to level up your team and leverage its potential, here are five steps to consider.
1. Set team and personal goals
Team goals are important as they create common missions and objectives for the team as a whole. However, it’s just as important for team members to have their own individual goals.
Having individual goals, which help optimize team productivity and performance, is crucial for a team’s success for a few reasons. First, individual goals foster accountability and productivity. Team members will discover their own capabilities, and that will, in turn, build their confidence.
Second, individual goals provide an opportunity for self-evaluation. Team members have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to utilize their qualities and talents accordingly.
For example, maybe one team member is more of an executor and implementer, whereas the other person is more of a visionary. Since ideas and visions can’t be brought to fruition without implementation and execution, teams thrive when both roles are present. That’s why having different goals for different people is crucial to achieving success at the individual and team level.
As your team members reach their goals, they will build momentum and set progressively higher goals. When you allow your team to authentically develop confidence in their own abilities, that momentum can take your whole team to the top.
2. Encourage innovation
Innovation is instrumental in becoming a top-performing team. Your agents likely have lots of good ideas, but they might not feel comfortable sharing them.
Make your office a safe space for both positivity and failure. Encourage your team members to try new things, and cheer them on. Sometimes, they’ll fail — and that’s OK. They will also feel empowered and safe to take risks, and that gives your team an innovative advantage.
3. Give praise often
Praise is just as important as feedback. Some may even argue that it’s more important. Don’t wait for semi-annual performance reviews to provide commendations.
As a leader, it’s also equally important to get comfortable asking for feedback. Learn how you can improve yourself. When you receive feedback, leave your feelings at the door. No one is perfect, and your humility goes a long way in your team’s eyes.
For example, let’s say your team had a record-setting quarter, and everyone’s celebrating. You believe that you’ve been an effective leader, and you have received lots of praise from your team. However, through asking for honest feedback, you learn that you tend to shut down new ideas before listening to them fully.
This discourages your team members from taking risks and sharing ideas. Without asking for that feedback, you would have enjoyed the praise while also preventing future growth.
4. Set the standard
Be the team leader your agents deserve. Empower them to go the extra mile, to strengthen their skill sets and to thrive. Be that role model for your team.
Work harder than anyone else in the room. Why? Because the agents who have the skills and desire to succeed will rise to your level. The ones who can keep up are the ones you want to invest in. As they say, “build a team so strong that no one knows who the boss is.”
This might mean spending one day a week door knocking, putting in your hours, showing up at the office early and leaving late. It might mean trying a new lead generation strategy that’s way out of your comfort zone or setting ambitious database building goals.
Perhaps it’s ensuring that you set your three or four weekly appointments, every single week. It’s all about being a role model for your team and leading by example.
5. Cultivate centers of influence
Focus on growing your network of centers of influence (COI), also known as sphere of influence. COI are people (or businesses) who can help grow your business, those who drive your credibility and reputation. This is a networking strategy that’s mutually beneficial.
Building relationships with your COI is an effective way to drive your reputation. These COI could essentially be home stagers, insurance advisers, real estate lawyers, general contractors, etc. In other words, those involved in the homebuying or selling process who would provide value for you and your clients in the same token.
Furthermore, encouraging your team to connect with their own COI will consequently sustain existing client relationships for all, as well as open up new opportunities. Referrals and relationship-building are paramount to long-term success.
Building a top-producing team takes work — and it relies on a shared value system. Inspire, engage and cheer one another on!