For many brokers and team leaders, holding agents accountable is one of the most common difficulties. It can be a struggle to get your team to stick to set goals, do the work set out to achieve targets, and ultimately perform.
The consequences for this is that it makes doing your job and managing your business more difficult.
However, there are ways to hold agents accountable so that targets are met more often than they are not.
The answer is to accept that you can’t hold agents accountable to yourself, only to themselves.
While you may want to, at times, drag them out of bed, chain them to a phone, get them dialling, doing open houses and posting listings, only they can decide to do this for themselves.
However, this doesn’t mean you give up trying to hold standards and targets for your team. There are several ways to encourage agents to hold themselves accountable. Here are my top three:
One common problem I see among offices and teams are that standards are simply not set. Standards shared openly, routinely and clearly with agents help team members understand for themselves what level of action they are expected to meet.
This can be done in a few ways. One important time to share your standards is at your weekly or monthly goal setting meetings with other team members present. This allows agents to see that your targets apply equally to all (even if to different degrees).
Having set standards also allows you to clearly communicate these at the point of hiring and staffing. Using standards, new team members can join the organization with an understanding of what is expected of them. This saves you from trying to introduce new behaviour later, as you can simply refer to the standards set from the beginning.
Be careful not to lower your standards unnecessarily, though.
It is one thing to be accommodating to a team member who is still developing, but it is another to allow poor performance to become the new level dictated to you and your team by an unmotivated individual.
The other consequence of this is that lower standards will absolutely not lead you closer towards achieving your team’s goals.
Further reading: The top KPIs for real estate agents
Leverage their motivation
Motivation can be thought of as both internal and external. External motivating factors are those under your control, which can only do so much because true motivation and action will come from within the agent themselves.
As a team leader, you need to learn how to motivate and inspire your agents.
Take the time to learn and understand your agent’s ‘why’. It is easy to assume everyone is naturally interested in earning a decent income, but why does this individual come to work?
By understanding an agent’s why you can align and frame your external motivation to that person’s individual goals.
For example, perhaps your agent is motivated by the idea of a luxurious family trip. How can you frame the expected targets for your agent around moving them closer towards this goal?
At this point you may even need to show your agent what your organization’s purpose and goal really is. Is your vision for your the organization big enough that the agent feels committed to being a part of it, growing with the group in order to take them where they want to go?
However, at the end of the day every individual is different. There are some team members who are routinely unmotivated both internally and externally.
Control the consequences
It is important to remember, however, that despite your agent’s actions - you are still in control.
As a team leader, you decide how your team and brokerage responds to agents who fail to hold themselves accountable.
In some cases, you might decide this particular agent is not a fit for your team’s culture and are better off developing their career elsewhere. In others, you may find that you are better served investing in, and developing your team.
Some agents, particularly newer members, often need just a little extra training or mentoring to thrive.
For example, younger team members can learn a lot from the extra time and dedication to their career development, reassuring them that they can in fact meet (and exceed) their targets if only they would do the work as you do.
This guidance and coaching shows that you care, in both them as an individual and about their careers. This can help agents feel comfortable to learn and develop in your organization, increasing their motivation and developing that self-accountability.
Here are some ideas on how you can get started implementing this today:
Set the standard for your team. Meet to discuss the progress on your team’s goals. Are they on track? What can they do better? Help everyone to understand what is expected of them.
Plan your consequences. Decide when to invest, coach and mentor. And ultimately, also consider when a team member may need to move on.
Meet all your team members one on one and try to understand their ‘why’. What drives them? Are they happy in your team? Show them that your team’s vision has space for them and can help them reach their goals. Learn how to motivate your team.
While you can’t hold an individual agent accountable, you can put in place standards and practices that help your agents create the accountability to themselves.
Take the time to set clear standards for your team with open communication. Encourage individuals through coaching, training and mentoring and show them that you care about their goals to help them thrive in your organization.