Becoming an Effective People Manager

Dear Coach:

I am a successful broker who has created a team consisting of myself, a marketing/transaction coordinator, and a buyer’s agent. I am having some ongoing challenges managing my two team members. When I ask a member to do a task, I don’t usually follow-up so sometimes it doesn’t get done or get done the way I would like. My buyer’s agent doesn’t seem to know all aspects of her job, so I end up doing some of the work myself (it’s much faster that way). I am frequently frustrated that they don’t meet my expectations. As a result, my clients don’t always get the level of service I think they deserve. What do you suggest?

Signed,  Frustrated Broker

Dear Frustrated Broker:

When a successful broker wants to grow their business, a great strategy is to bring on additional help. It’s my experience that successful brokers don’t always make successful managers. One reason is that they expect the people they hire to have the same work ethic, values, and judgement that they have, which typically doesn’t happen. Also, the skills that make a successful broker are not the same skills that make a successful people manager.

Here are a few suggestions that can help.

  1. Create written job descriptions – this is the very first step to having a successful hire since it clearly communicates, in writing, what the person is expected to do. It also helps you organize your thoughts about what kind of work you want the hire to do.
  2. Take time to train and orient your employees – I can’t tell you how many brokers hire someone and then spend very little time training them. It’s not surprising that there is a high turnover when new hires are not properly oriented to their new position. While it may be faster in the short term for you to do some of their work, the time required to train them is a wise investment.
  3. Communicate your expectations – People won’t know what you expect of them unless you tell them. Put your expectations on paper and review these with your new hires frequently.
  4. Hold people accountable – In order that new hires are doing what you expect of them, you need to give them feedback and hold them accountable. This sometimes requires having a “difficult conversation” to redirect their efforts, which many hiring brokers avoid.
  5. Reward positive progress – Finally, reward the positive, small steps new hires make as they learn how to work with you.


By following these guidelines, you, your team, and your clients will feel valued and be more satisfied.