Go watch the Tony Robbins documentary I Am Not Your Guru on Netflix. Oh, and be prepared with some tissues. I tend to bury my feelings and it takes overwhelming frustration for me to cry about my own problems, but man Tony has a way of digging deep with people that turns me into a weepy mess.
We All Get What We Tolerate
With that being said, one of the segments in the documentary is called “We all get what we tolerate.” And that got me to thinking about what I tolerate in my job as COO of a real estate team.
Upon some reflection, I realize that if something is bothering me, I talk about it. If a team member is lagging behind or not doing what I think they could be doing, I’ll first bring it to my lead agent’s attention since it’s possible he’s already had the conversation with the team member in question. So we talk it over and if it needs to be addressed, we decide together who will broach the subject with that team member.
At one point it was my lead agent who causing me a bit of trouble when he started including me on the emails to clients and co-op agents when one of our listings went under contract. We have a transaction coordinator who handles everything from contract to close and the co-op agents and clients were thinking that I needed to be part of every correspondence since I was on the original email. And that’s not the case. I handle getting the client’s listing on the market, but once it’s under contract, it’s out of my hands and I don’t ever need be involved with co-op agents.
I could have just let that go since it’s not a big deal to delete emails. That’s not what I wanted though. So I told my lead agent what was happening and he didn’t even realize that he had been doing it. So he stopped. Problem solved.
Decide What You Will No Longer Tolerate
What have you been dealing with, putting up with, or tolerating that you have decided “no more?”
It can be something as simple as teammate who calls you a nickname that you hate. I can be something as complex as a system that needs an overhaul because you are inundated with extra, unnecessary steps.
What’s been pushing your buttons lately that you see as a recurring problem, obstacle, or headache?
What service have you been receiving from vendor partners that is no longer acceptable to you?
A lot of us administrative or executive assistants are CS or SC on the DISC profile. Typically that means we are people-pleasers and we don’t want to do anything to rock the boat. We want people to like us and we want them to think we are doing a good job.
If we decide we aren’t going to tolerate something or someone’s actions, having to say something to someone about it is going to make us uncomfortable. Well, in case you didn’t already realize it…you’re already uncomfortable! Every time that teammate calls you the nickname you hate, you are uncomfortable. Every time a client complains to you that the handyman you recommended never called them back, you are uncomfortable.
What I’m asking you to do here is to stop tolerating that behavior so that you can go back to being comfortable. Sounds good, right? Being treated with respect feels good. Having clients thank you for recommending an amazing handyman feels good.
Have the Tough Conversation
So how do you let this person know that you are no longer going to tolerate his or her actions or behavior? Here’s a simple script that I think you will find helpful.
You: Hey do you have a moment to talk about something that’s been bothering me lately?
Him/Her: Yeah, what’s up?
You: Well, you know the other day when you called me a file nazi?
You: I really don’t like being called that. You know, I’m doing my job to the best of my ability and that requires me to make sure all the paperwork is completed accurately so we don’t get sued, right? I hate chasing down these minor things as much as you hate being nagged about them, and I feel that calling me a file nazi is condescending. So do you think you could stop?
Him/Her: Yeah, I had no idea you felt that way. I promise I won’t say it anymore.
There! Problem solved.
The system is to ask if it’s a good time to talk. You want to make sure you have his or her undivided attention. Then recall the last time the offensive behavior occurred. Next, state the reason why you don’t appreciate that behavior. And last, ask him or her to stop that behavior or suggest a new behavior.
You may even need to add on a consequence if the undesired behavior doesn’t change, as in the case of the handyman who doesn’t call back the clients you refer to him. “We used to love referring clients to you because you would call them back promptly and they were happy with your service. Now though, I’m getting complaints that you are not calling our clients back at all. If that continues, I’m afraid I won’t be able to refer business to you anymore. Do you think at the end of every day, you could call back our clients so we can keep referring business to you?”
Now You’re Getting More of What you Want!
When you decide what you won’t tolerate, your work day will become so much better! Of course, the key to keeping it going is consistency and follow through on your consequences.
If the teammate calls you a file nazi again, you have to remind him or her of your conversation. If the handyman reverts back to not calling your clients back, you’ll need to find a new handyman to refer.
You know what your standards are and if you find that people in your life are not living up to those standards, you now have the tools needed to get what you want.
Do you have a specific situation and want some third-party advice. I’m happy to offer you my opinion if I have any experience to offer. Send me an email, and I’ll tell you what I know! firstname.lastname@example.org