Let’s just clear the air and say that conflict is going to happen. Period. There are a lot of people with a variety of viewpoints working on a real estate team. Throw in a handful of clients and you have a huge mix of motivations, personalities, and responsibilities being tossed together.
As a leader, your responsibility is to keep that ever-simmering pot of stress and tension from boiling over. You can do so by changing the workspace vibes/culture. Encourage positive energy and friendships in the office to create a happy, safe and productive work environment. These five tips will not only curb the conflict, but will keep operations running as smooth as butter at room temperature.
Model Communication (Learn to Listen)
This is a good rule to apply to every interaction, probably in life, but especially on your real estate team. Communication will put you one step ahead of conflict. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Model the attitude you want to see. By always using a respectful tone, choosing the right words, and actively listening to what the other person has to say, you send the message that communication skills are the backbone of the operation. At the very least, treat others the way you would treat a client.
Set Clear Expectations
Maybe you didn’t ask your marketing team to update the website’s banner. Maybe you asked someone to take photos of a listing but never set a deadline. Before you jump to any conclusions, ask yourself if you were clear and concise in your requests.
Assumptions and guessing can be a huge source of conflict. Nobody should be confused about what needs to be accomplished and who will be taking on the task. A simple outline of this quarter’s goals or clear designation of duties will prevent a lot of finger-pointing and head-scratching. The big takeaway is to never assume anyone knows what you want.
There is never a reason to lash out and belittle your employees, lest you break your own rules about avoiding conflict. Chances are a person who screwed up already knows what they did wrong. But it could also just be a misunderstanding (see Set Clear Expectations). Either way, be approachable and talk it out. Use this opportunity to gently guide the team back to the correct course. Mistakes will happen, even if you’re working with an army of robots. It’s a part of life. Think of all the things your grandma taught you and put them to work: Let’s be kind to one another. Forgive and forget. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Now on to the positive feedback. This is a simple gesture that makes your employees feel as though their work is being valued. You don’t need to start giving out high fives (although you can if you want, nobody will stop you). A quick “Hey! That listing you posted looks great on the website” or “Your numbers are out of this world” at the water cooler will go a long way. Be consistent with your feedback, and encourage everyone to do the same.
Survey Your Employees
Everyone on the team is working tirelessly to cater to the needs of the clients (seriously, what a group of rockstars). It’s time to take a time-out and ask your team how they are doing. Send out an anonymous online survey to get some real raw honesty and feedback about how things are really working in the office. Most employees won’t just come out and say they are unhappy or that a standard procedure is outdated and inefficient. SurveyMonkey and Google Forms are great tools to give you some insight and avoid any further brewing and stewing over things that can be easily improved upon.
View Conflict as Opportunity
As much as you try to avoid it, conflict is still bound to happen. What can you do about it? View it as an opportunity. You can put a positive spin on any situation and should use any conflict for team building and leadership development. Within every conflict there is an opportunity to learn. Where there is disagreement you’ll find a place for growth. Opposing positions hold the potential to stimulate innovation in ways that a like-minded team can’t even imagine.
SIMPLE. POWERFUL. FOR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS.
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