New research reveals that the key to getting teams to work more productively and collaboratively may be more of an art than a science. Here are a few tips from those findings that you can implement immediately as a broker or team leader to help you quickly realize your real estate team goals.
Several years ago, MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory researched team productivity and revealed some interesting results. They used electronic communications “badges” to help identify and quantify several communication styles that contributed to higher performance among teams on a bank’s call center. While all other variables remained the same, including the content of the communication, specific teams still outperformed others simply by the way in which they communicated to each other. Factors included tone of voice, body language (do they face one another when they speak?), how much they talk versus listen, and levels of extroversion and empathy.
Turns out, the style of communication quickly became the most important predictor of the teams’ productivity and success over other factors, including individual intelligence, personality, skill and substance.
Following that insight, the researchers recommended revising the employees’ coffee break schedule to encourage more informal socialization with their teammates. As they predicted, the average duration of the call center’s transactions (a success metric) dropped more than 20% among lower-performing teams, and employee satisfaction rose by more than 10%.
While dynamics can differ among a real estate team, the same communication factors can play a large role in your team’s productivity, morale and ultimate success.
“These patterns vary little, regardless of the type of team and its goal,” says Alex “Sandy” Pentland, director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory. “Productive teams have certain data signatures, and they’re so consistent that we can predict a team’s success simply by looking at the data—without ever meeting its members.”
Instead of feeling frustrated by a team’s differing work styles, transform these differences into strengths. A recent dotloop survey showed that multi-generational teams of agents place value on different aspects of their jobs, including commission structures, work/life balance and opportunities to collaborate. While one agent might prefer working online, others prefer face-to-face meetings. When you start regarding these differences as complements to one another, you’ll start using them to your advantage.
For instance, baby boomers can complement younger millennial agents by sharing their seasoned knowledge of the real estate industry, while millennials might add value by identifying, reviewing and teaching new technology available for real estate teams.
The concept of “psychological ownership” can play a meaningful role in employee satisfaction. In a study of more than 800 employees, Linn Van Dyne of Michigan State University and Jon L. Pierce of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, discovered that employees’ sense of psychological ownership for the organization positively correlates with not only job satisfaction and commitment to the organization but also work performance.
Real estate team members should also see themselves as a part of the larger machine in a way that complements how integral they are to the overall operation. Connect your team members with your brokerage’s overarching business goals but also help empower their psychological ownership by giving them ownership of their personal space, allowing them to create their own title or managing a team-building activity. According to the researchers, small touches like encouraging agents to personalize their desks with photos of their families or favorite posters can dramatically improve their sense of engagement and job satisfaction.
We recommend real estate teams set SMART goals that unite team members under a shared vision of success. Setting SMART goals allows you to better budget your time and money and to track what’s working well.
Real estate teams often become overwhelmed by the paper shuffle of transaction management. The good news is technology can easily streamline real estate processes to make your team’s work paperless, collaborative and much more efficient. Transaction management tools like dotloop provide the robust reporting tools and deep visibility into a team’s performance that allow brokers and team leaders to instantly identify high and low performers, pending closings and more.
Meanwhile, admins and transaction coordinators will profit from custom workflow templates and autofill capabilities that keep deals moving and improve compliance.
CRMs can also help agents streamline their tasks and expertise, creating a well-oiled machine. Investing in a CRM that integrates with your other existing software and tech tools will intuitively help your real estate team with pipeline tracking and transaction management.
Dotloop’s transaction management platform, for example, was designed specifically with real estate teams in mind and integrates with CRMs, accounting software and marketing platforms to enable all your team members to work in sync.
At the end of the day, every great real estate team should focus on having fun. Celebrate successes as a team, provide good benefits and create time for non-work activities, and you’ll soon be rewarded with a genuinely more enthusiastic, engaged and productive team.