The single biggest step a single real estate agent can take is to hire an executive assistant. The agent goes from being self-reliant to being in a partnership with someone new which means he has to trust his new hire with his entire business.
As the business grows, so too should the level of trust. And I’m not talking about trusting the other person to make a follow up phone call or to draw up listing documents.
I’m talking about vulnerability.
You see, most people don’t like to admit when they’re wrong or that they made a mistake. They think it will make them appear weak or stupid. So they say nothing.
This is lack of trust. If you can’t trust the other person to accept your fallacies without holding them against you, you lack trust.
No one is in business to be perfect. It’s impossible. So we have to learn from our mistakes and become better because of them. But if you hide your mistakes or fear your mega agent will fire you, that lack of trust only festers and becomes worse until one of you decides the relationship is too uncomfortable and moves on.
In Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the first dysfunction is lack of trust.
Patrick says, “Members of trusting teams…
- Admit weaknesses and mistakes
- Ask for help
- Accept questions and input about their areas of responsibility
- Give one another the benefit of the doubt before arriving at a negative conclusion
- Take risks in offering feedback and assistance
- Appreciate and tap into one another’s skills and experience
- Focus time and energy on important issues, not politics
- Offer and accept apologies without hesitation
- Look forward to meetings and other opportunities to work as a group”
Look through the list above again. Are you proudly doing these things? Or do you hesitate? If you hesitate, or don’t do them at all, you’ve got some work to do!
I’ve admitted many times to my mega that making calls and talking on the phone are my weakness. I am not comfortable doing them, and will avoid them if I can. I was very up front about that when I was hired. I didn’t want to be in a business relationship with someone whose standard for his executive assistant was to do things like call incoming leads.
To this day, my mega will ask me if I prefer that he calls someone I need an answer from. What’s funny is that usually I say no and do it myself. Usually. But at least I have the option. Being honest about my weakness and knowing my mega has my back about it makes our relationship strong. We can tell each other things like, “we need to spend more money on marketing,” or, “this system for incoming leads is difficult to use,” because neither one of us takes it as a personal attack on our skills or our character. If we’re making mistakes somewhere then it’s not personal; it just needs to be fixed.
Without trust, you’ll always be afraid to say exactly what’s on your mind even if what you have to say can help the business.
So how do you get a high level of trust with your mega agent? It certainly takes some time. In the beginning, plan time on your calendars to go out to lunch with each other and get to know each other better. Where did you each grow up, how many siblings do you have, what’s the farthest from home you’ve ever been? Believe it or not, simple questions like these help each of you come out from behind your wall and trust each other with personal information like this.
Another suggestion from Patrick Lencioni is to have a meeting to tell the other person what you consider your strengths to be and what you consider your weaknesses to be. Giving each other the opportunity to admit both builds trust. And it can help you both decide how you can help each other shore up or overcome your weaknesses.
And finally, behavior profiles can be eye-opening. Assessments like the DISC, KPA (available only through Keller Williams), MBTI, StrengthsFinder, and Standout are all good measures of skills and behavior that you can use to compare notes and discover together how to best utilize each other’s talents.