Getting caught up in the drama of toxicity can be a huge distraction from the hard work of running your real estate business. To be in a business where you face rejection often and have to put yourself out there again and again, you can’t afford to let negativity into your stratosphere.
And in this market, who has time to deal with personal conflicts and toxicity? Whether it’s in the office, at home or with clients, we’ve pulled together some top advice from Inman contributors to help ensure you’re fulfilled in your worklife. Find out how to recognize workplace and work-from-home toxicity, learn how to avoid it, and pick up tips on how to cut out trolls online.
Recognize workplace toxicity
You can’t cut toxicity out of your life unless you recognize what it looks like. According to career contessa, there are several signs that’ll help you determine whether you’re in a toxic workplace:
- Poor communication
- Cliques, exclusion and gossipy behavior
- Bad leadership
- Lack of motivation among coworkers
- Stalled growth
- Employee turnover
- Lack of work-life balance
- No upward mobility
- You just feel it
If you work from home, look for:
- Gossipy behavior moving online
- Coworkers being overlooked in digital meetings
What’s bad leadership look like, you say? Read Christy Murdock’s “Bad bosses? 5 rotten apple red flags and what to do next.”
Avoid toxic behavior
“Whether it’s clients creating roadblocks over the smallest details or other agents working to bring their colleagues down, today’s entrepreneur needs to be equipped to not only combat the problem when face to face, but also prevent it from ever happening,” Mike Jeneralczuk writes.
Here are four steps for eliminating toxicity from your life from Jeneralczuk:
1. Be transparent from the get-go
There’s no room for grey areas or miscommunication. Be clear, honest and ethical from the start. If clear-cut terms and expectations are established in the beginning, then even the most unreasonable people can’t argue with clarity and honesty.
For toxic clients, clear contracts and agreements solve everything. For toxic coworkers, avoid playing games.
2. Fix the issue today
“Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin
Problems don’t just go away — they grow. Don’t brush issues under the rug, procrastinate on solving them or avoid them altogether.
Have those uncomfortable conversations with clients today. Address it right away, and you’re sending the message that something needs to change. If you put it off, the solution becomes harder to attain. Even the worst clients appreciate a straight-forward agent.
For toxic coworkers, don’t let the drama build. If you want to address something with your broker or a colleague, just do it.
3. Set limits and boundaries
For toxic clients, set those hours when you’re reachable and when you’re not. By setting a schedule, you’ll earn their respect and not let them walk all over you. Additionally, to be at your sharpest, you’ll need your rest too.
For toxic coworkers, separate your personal and work life. If you’re surrounded by the wrong set of people at work, keep it all work. Be completely professional. Don’t hang out with those people outside of work, and don’t friend them on social media.
4. Build your network
Your network equals your net worth, as they say. Who you surround yourself with matters, so don’t let bad apples bring you down.
Cut off toxic clients. No commission check is worth the expense of dealing with awful clients. You’ll likely lose time, energy and resources, which can take a toll on your mental health. For more tips on when and how to fire clients, check out “33 signs it’s time to fire a client (and how to do it the right way).”
If any of the lists above rang true for you, it’s time to think about switching brokerages. Ask these questions as you interview brokerages. “Assemble a group of people around you that inspire you, bring positivity to your business, and give you that drive to kill it. Every day without that support is a wasted one, and time is money. Make the change,” Jeneralczuk wrote.
Cut out the trolls
As a former HR manager and Zillow employee, Jay Thompson knows a thing or two about trolling. Here are the top tips he’s learned over the years about cutting out toxic online behavior, taken from his article, “Stop the toxicity! 9 tips for avoiding bad behavior online.”
1. Keep scrolling
This sounds like obvious advice, but if you see the comments on a post taking a turn for the worse, don’t jump into the conversation. Just keep your thumb moving.
2. Unfollow, snooze, unfriend, block
On the same note, if you find a certain friend or follower is negative all the time, nix them from your social media.
3. Keep a positive attitude
“It’s not easy to keep a positive attitude, especially in trying times. If you can, it will do wonders for your head and your body,” Thompson writes. “No one can be sunshine and rainbows all day, every day, but the more time you spend in a positive mindset, the less time you’ll spend fretting, worrying and letting toxic people and actions affect you.”
4. Avoid the blame game
It’s easy to lay blame, but don’t. Rather than looking for someone or something to blame, focus on doing something positive, like meditating. Misery loves company. So if you’re miserable, you’re probably attracting miserable people.
5. Fess up, sometimes the problem is in the mirror
Self-awareness isn’t easy for everyone. It’s a soft skill one must hone over a lifetime. If you’re constantly feeling like everyone around you is toxic, do some self-examination. Being able to admit your faults and mistakes is a huge step forward.
6. Self-discipline matters
“Think before you read, and think before you speak. Sometimes it feels like critical thinking skills have flown out the window and disappeared into the ether, never to be seen again,” Thompson writes.
7. Take a walk
If something sets you off, simply step away from the keyboard. Clear your head. Let it go.
8. Take a break
If a walk isn’t enough, take a break from your typical online habits and reset.
9. Don’t take it personally
Sure, that’s great advice in theory. In practical terms, if you find yourself taking things personally, follow the eight steps above to cut some of the toxicity out of your virtual life.