A Solid Strategy for Overcoming Complaining and Negativity With Your Team

Negativity and complaining can completely train wreck a real estate business. And it’s just so darn easy to fall into. Something goes wrong for you so you complain to the person sitting next to you how awfully you’ve been treated in order to get some sympathy for your plight. It’s easier to bear a negative situation when we share the burden with someone else (or so we think).

It’s much like gossip in that being negative and complaining makes us feel good. When it’s out there, we have something to do. It gives us a break from doing any real work. It’s makes us feel better about ourselves, because we know we would never act that way so let’s make fun of the idiots who are doing it wrong.

The problem is, when one person starts complaining and being negative, the whole team can get sucked into it. Then, before you realize it, you’ve all been in bad moods and you are dealing with nothing but problem contracts and problem clients day in and day out. You start attracting negativity into your world because you are all focused on negativity. You forget that 80% of the people and work you deal with goes quite well because you are spending the majority of your time focusing on the negative ones.

The key to turning it all around is to identify your “problem” contracts or clients and decide whether these are one-off or recurring. Then you get into problem-solving mode rather than complaining mode. The rule is, if you find yourself complaining about someone or something, you have to ask yourself if you feel like complaining because it really is a recurring problem that needs to be solved, or if it is a one-off problem that really has no solution and you are just complaining to make yourself feel better in the moment?

This question has to be asked before you open your mouth to complain.

I would advocate that rather than complain about something, you start keeping a list instead. Call it something positive. I like Potential Improvement Points.

Potential Improvement Points (1)

Now, whenever you feel like complaining, you write down the incident on your list. Every week or so, review the list with your lead agent, coach, or mentor and see if there is a recurring pattern. In this manner, you have contained the complaining and negativity into a written list instead of spewing it out onto your teammates and you have a system for improving your customer service or back-end systems.

Introduce this concept to your team at your next team meeting. Promise to hold each other accountable. The next time you hear someone complaining or being negative, ask them to write it down into their Potential Improvement Points.

This is a great tool for pointing out whether it really is a system improvement that needs to be made, or a personal improvement as well. Maybe it’s a script that needs tweaking, or maybe it’s a self improvement like being able to manage your emotions.

Using this method of making a list, you will go through a process of discovery that will either improve your systems or improve your self. Either way, it’s a win!

What’s a strategy you’ve used to help you team stay positive? Please share in the comments! As always, you can ask me anything at egilbert@kw.com.


  1. Christine Jones

    THIS COULDN’T COME AT A BETTER TIME FOR OUR TEAM. Right now it seems a little bit ‘admin vs agent’ and I think the complaints and negativity of the everyday is not helping the situation. I am DEFINITELY going to input this strategy at least for myself so I can learn about any potential patterns and training myself to filter out the negativity and bring the positive back into the team’s life. Thanks Elizabeth!

    1. Elizabeth (Post author)

      My pleasure Christine! Our team typically goes through cycles of negativity so I thought this would be a good strategy to share with everyone.


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