If your vision is to scale and create a massive business, at some point, you will need to hire employees. If you have never managed a team before, you likely won’t have a clue what you’re doing. Even if you have management experience, it’s a whole different monster when you are at the top of the food chain.
Fortunately, Shawn Casemore, who has published over 1000 articles, booklets, and resources on improving individual and organization performance, specializes in teaching business leaders how to effectively manage a team. In our recent conversation, Shawn provided 4 tactics to get more out of your real estate or business team.
1 – For contractors, consultants, and non-employees, make your business their priority
If you are a real estate investor, whether you’ve manage a team or not, you’ve worked with contractors. We all how much of a hassle that can be.
To get more out of your contractors, Shawn said, “you have to realize those folks have their own businesses and have their own priorities, and therefore you need to somehow make your business a priority.”
One method, which is what you see on the real estate TV shows, is to go out and beat up on your contractor and threaten to pull business if they don’t get their act together. However, TV isn’t reality. Go in and yell at a contractor and they may perform even worse.
Instead, here a few examples provided by Shawn on how to make your business the contractors priority that doesn’t involve throwing a temper tantrum:
Give them more business and they will give you more attention. Simple.
Make them feel like they are a part of the business
For example, Shawn said, “when you’re going out to take a look at a property, you bring your contractor … with you. Do you involve them in the decision making? Do you actually give them the chance to take a look at situations and provide potential solutions, and when they do, do you thank them for it and you take some of their advice?”
When dealing with contractors, Shawn said, “it becomes trying to ensure that other people who support me, although they’re not an employee, they feel like this is their business. That comes back to building relationships, which includes things like trust [and] honesty. And you’ll find that a lot of contractors will be very receptive to that, because everybody treats them like crap, so they’re happy to work with those who actually treat them like a human being.”
Don’t be a jerk
As business owners, we are constantly in the business mindset. We are fixated on the finding the next deal, developing the next opportunity, or maximizing our cash flow. As a result, we’re so busy and stressed out that we may run over those who support us, hopefully inadvertently, and we can come off as jerks.
Shawn said that when we are in this business mindset, “that stress then when you turn to answer some questions of your employee or contractor comes out that you’re a little bit of a jerk. And then what do they think of you? They think you’re a jerk, so are they going to stand behind you? Are they going to be there when you really need them? The answer is no.”
Therefore, you must complement the business mindset (i.e. focusing on the next deal, cash flow, profitability) with a separate, people-oriented mindset. Shawn said, in regards to the people-oriented mindset, “in order to be successful, I can’t do this alone. I need people, be it employees or contractors, or otherwise, and people are receptive to other people. People are receptive of being treated fairly, being treated honestly. In fact, I can actually warm people up a little bit if I start to maybe go that extra mile or if I drop off a coffee. When I go in to see my contractors, I always try to grab some coffee for the guys.”
Other example that your contractors would absolutely love is to drop off a case of beer if they are working late on a Friday or a weekend.
2 – Ask for feedback, advice, and ideas on projects
Another way to get more out of your team is to ask for input on projects you are working on. For example, Shawn said “I was just speaking with a client this morning. We were working with kind of a subset of a small group of people in the organization. We identified some very minor changes to something. This morning we sent that out to the broader team before it went live and said, ‘Hey, give us your feedback. What do you think?’”
It’s important to understand that your team isn’t an amorphous blob. They are a collection of individuals with their own experiences, including personal experiences, work experiences, and their own ideas, and everybody wants to share those ideas and experiences. Therefore, Shawn said, “if you want to create a stronger team and a better business, you need to really understand that everybody’s an individual, and deal with them on an individual basis to get the most out of them, to get these ideas that help them feel like they’re part of something.”
Always ask for input and feedback from employees. Some of it might be terrible advice if they don’t have the experience that others on your team do, but many people just want to be heard, even if their ideas aren’t acted upon. If you can listen to them and start to capitalize on the good ideas, you will build a very strong team and an even stronger business.
3 – Schedule face-to-face personal meetings
Again, when we are in the business mindset, we may neglect to schedule enough time to meet with our employees. Shawn said, “you need to calenderize some time where you’re only dealing with your people… This isn’t a stop by a property and just say, ‘Hey, how’s it going? What’s new?’ … I tell my leaders all the time: Stick it in your calendar every Friday to spend the afternoon or the morning going around and just talking to people. You might not hit everybody every Friday, but make a point of doing that. What you’ll find is you’re able to better understand everybody as an individual, therefore when you’re positioning things, ideas, viewpoints, [and] asking questions, you can position it from a perspective that they personal appreciate.”
What if you have a remote team? Will having this interactions over the phone suffice? The answer is no.
Face-to-face interactions are important because you’re forced to pay attention and vice versa (you’ll see if they are sending emails), you can see their body language to see how interested they are, and it saves a lot of time (you can get across the same message in a 5-minute phone call that you can in 30 emails).
Therefore, if you have a remote team like Shawn, he says, “I schedule time (if they have Skype, or Zoom, or something else) where we get face-to-face. Maybe it’s once a month, maybe it’s once a week, depending on how important that person is to the business and how frequently you can interact… Face-to-face is key with those remote people to ensuring that you’re having a valuable dialogue.”
4 – Provide Individualized Recognition
Now that you realize you must treat each member of you team as an individual, it should go without saying that you need to recognize them as an individual as well. For example, Shawn said, “let’s say you’ve got a few people on your team and you have a great year and you do the cliché send them all a jacket or give them all a ball cap. That’s fine, but if you’ve ever received the jacket from maybe a business you were working in at some point, some people love that jacket, some people would rather have cash, some people didn’t like the color, some of them got their names spelled wrong. So when you look at recognition or just thanking people, that also has to be individual.”
Recognizing each team member as an individual is the only way to ensure that it’s actually valuable to them. In doing so, you are going to find people more appreciative and more supportive of your business
The four tactics for getting more out of your business team are:
- For contractors, making your business a priority to them and making them feel like a part of the team
- Asking for feedback and input on projects
- Consistently have face-to-face interactions
- Provide individualize support
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