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What Kind of Team Leader Are You?

I'd love to say we have a great team because I'm a great team leader, but that's not the case. I know how to price, negotiate, market, and sell real estate but those are all different roles than a team leader would take on.

I'd never had any coaching during my first 14 years of commercial real estate. I was just "there" with all the other agents in the office. We met once a week to go over our deals but other than that it was the only time we ever saw our team leader or president. Therefore, I had nothing to base my opinion of coaching on.

When I moved over to the residential side in 1988, within about 5 years I'd built a pretty successful brokerage. I was ready to start a team, or so I thought. I knew I could help my teammates get great listings and teach them the things I'd already learned about luxury real estate. We could cover more ground as a team.

In my naivete, I really assumed all you had to do to build a team was bring on excellent agents and let them run their own business. After all, that's all I'd ever known from two different commercial real estate teams I'd been with. How hard can that be?

But I could never build real momentum. An agent would join us and a year or two later they were gone. Our numbers were always fluctuating. Something was wrong and I didn't know how to fix it.

After giving it a lot of thought, almost 10 years ago to the day, Erin Clifford and I joined Keller Williams to learn how to build a team the right way. That decision changed the course of our company. Erin was an agent when she moved over with me, but it became apparent to me what I needed was already on our team of two. I handed the team leader reins over to Erin, our Sr VP and Director of Sales and let her run with the ball.

Erin has own natural people skills along with the valuable guidance she's received from team coaching. She's spent a lot of time on that endeavor and to be perfectly honest, that's was something I wanted to take on myself.

Erin and I have found a nice balance and our team has benefitted greatly from it. We finished 2023 with $122 million in sales volume, and that's cooking for a small team of only 8 agents.

My advice to anyone building a real estate team is be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. If you find someone who's better at something than you are, bring them on, listen to what they have to say, and don't micromanage them.

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