Team leaders invest an immense amount of time, energy and resources into their team members, and inevitably, some will fail. Here’s how to recognize why some teammates fail and address the issues head-on.
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When agents join your team, they are entrusting you with a great deal. They are putting their business and livelihood in your hands. I have always advocated for leaders taking personal responsibility for their team associates.
When taking that personal responsibility, team leaders invest in the success of their associates. There is a small contingent of people who will fail despite your best efforts. They have too much going on in their personal lives to do what it takes.
However, in the vast majority of cases, agents can avoid failure. Over the years, I have found agents on teams fail for the following four reasons.
1. They were bad hires
Let’s get this out of the way. Most teams have learned from their brokers the recruiting “fog test.” Meaning, if agents can fog a mirror and don’t have bad reputations, they are good candidates. This approach seems to be the industry’s prevalent screening method despite its years of documented failure.
Successful teams raise the bar. Leaders should be specific about who they want. Culturally, they should be hiring around their core values. Teams should be hiring according to the team brand and its service promise. They should also be hiring for the position on the team. Team models vary, but each team should have a specific profile for each role.
Here are two examples:
- Do you have a ton of internet leads that agents need to work? If so, you want an unestablished, focused and more passive introvert. They excel at the e-commerce angle.
- Do you want someone to be a community liaison and manage blowing up your social media? You want an upbeat extrovert who enjoys taking lots of photos and videos.
2. They weren’t trained properly
Ten percent of your agents are going to succeed regardless. Conversely, 10 percent will fail despite your best efforts. It’s the middle 80 percent who benefit from training.
Yes, training needs to include the fundamental, technical, risk-management issues. But too often, that is the sole focus. Team training should be interactive and full of role-playing. It should be fun, challenging and full of group accountability.
Expectations should be high, and there should be a culture of constant growth. Improvement should be a team obsession. Leaders should set the example and invest in continuous training. To play to win, you must first practice to win.
3. They are ignored
Each agent is a human first, and we all have a few core needs. People fail when we ignore them and don’t give them an outlet to experience each one of them at work.
- Humans all need some level of certainty in life. We need to be able to count on set expectations.
- We all need to have some level of adventure and variety in our lives. New experiences give life spice and bring unexpected joys.
- Humans also need to contribute to experience a level of significance. That internal satisfaction that what you do matters.
- We all need love and connection to be accepted.
- Humans also need to grow. The world we live in is dynamic and changing. Nothing stands still.
4. The team lacks systems
Team systems are all about leverage. Your systems allow you to scale and grow. When you lack them, your team will be inconsistent and problematic. You will see this externally with clients. You will also see this internally with frustrated people and high turnover rates.
You can cut out the majority of agents who fail on your watch by addressing four areas:
- Hire well. Know what you need, and be specific in finding the right person.
- Develop a culture of training. Practice like you want agents to play.
- Make sure you are finding ways to be human and meet the underlying needs each person has.
- Have the necessary systems in place to deliver your brand promise to your clients and teammates.
Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building.