Ironing Out the Issues
Despite any manager’s best efforts, issues will arise. And how a managing broker deals with conflict can often say everything about how effective and helpful he or she is to agents.
Piket says when a situation surfaces he focuses on attacking the problem, not the person, in order to determine the best solution. He will talk with the person who is coming to him for help, sit down, go over options and decide on the solution – and be prepared for the consequences.
The direct approach has worked best for Hernandez. “We address the situation with the agent directly and see how we can come up with a resolution,” she says. “Once it’s been addressed, we move forward from there. The other agent or other person involved in the issue may just need someone to hear them out.”
As a manager mediating various situations, it’s also vital to analyze nonverbal communication cues, especially from your own agents – this will determine whether or not the agent will learn from the situation and prevent it from happening again.
“You can tell a lot from someone’s eye movements and posture,” Hernandez says. “A conversation doesn’t go well when you have someone who’s not listening, which you can tell if their eyes wander or their arms are crossed. If they are not listening, there is nothing they can learn from the experience.”
In an effort to stay one step ahead, Andersen has his agents air out issues during their weekly office meetings and work on them as a group. Griffith, Grant and Lackie agents not only learn from Andersen and Lackie as their brokers, but also from other agents who may have dealt with similar issues and situations themselves.
At Pederson’s office, he noticed weekly office meetings were not well attended and seemed to lack substance. In an effort to maximize their time spent as a group, they’ve transitioned to monthly meetings. He has limited the frequency of allowing vendors to make presentations to his agents. “We are never wasteful of their time,” he says.
When seeking feedback or fresh ideas, managing brokers who look within their own brokerages are off to a great start. Hernandez says consistently seeking her agents’ feedback has worked well for the entire company.
“We look at things that can be integrated into our business model that are beneficial for all of our agents,” she says. “We feel very strongly about catering to our agents because they are a part of our team. We’re listening and hope the agents we help will be successful, because when they are successful, we are successful.”
Pederson says he also steers clear of setting goals for people. Rather, he helps them evaluate where their successes originated from, and from there, assists them in setting personal goals. While managing a brokerage can be a big responsibility and huge commitment, at least the high-tension situations are nowhere near the tension levels he was formerly used to. CA