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Maximize team performance by identifying and balancing skill sets

By Robyn Hardy

An unusual number of teams evolved in the years prior to this correcting market. Supporting teams is very different than supporting individual agents. Most agents who brought on team members did so out of necessity not because they wanted to-nor did they have the skill set to manage other agents or staff.

We had several teams in our brokerage and we coached them on how to balance their teams for maximum performance, peace and harmony. We even recruited for them. It takes both Hunters and Skinners to make the tribe successful. Too many hunters and the business will be chaotic and becomes an E&O nightmare. Too many skinners and there is no business to worry about.

Each and every one of us is either a hunter or a skinner. We may be able to do both but there is one profile that dominates. Don’t make the mistake of thinking one is better, stronger or more successful than the other. I am a hunter. Anyone who knows me will attest. I can skin but I am not very good at it. I would ruin the catch for the tribe if you kept me in that position for very long. It stifles me. I am not detail oriented so I would fail you and myself which only diminishes my self esteem and perpetuates more failure.

My dad is an amazing skinner! Juggling and balancing the business of one of the strongest teams in Arizona “Team Lightning.” If you send him out to hunt he will sit there and aim and aim and aim until his catch either catches on and runs away or walks up to him and says, “Take me, I’m yours.” Will he shoot something if he has to…of course, but he will not be good at feeding the entire tribe for long periods of time. This responsibility will bring on stress making for many sleepless nights and diminished confidence.

Team Lightning has a very balanced team of 8 people.
1 Main Hunter (L.B. Bender) – generates business for the whole team
3 Sub Hunters – generate a majority of their own business
3 Skinners – fed a majority of their business from the Main Hunter
1 Skinner – manages marketing and transaction management of all business brought in by the team

Don’t confuse personality traits with skill sets. The most gregarious and confident person at the party may not be a hunter and the quiet reserved person may not be the back-office skinner. I have worked with some amazing hunters who rarely spoke two sentences at a time and I have seen the life of the party who couldn’t ask for the business. This is where we make a lot of our recruiting mistakes. We see a look or personality that we perceive as popular and we assume that popularity makes a hunter….it doesn’t. On the flip side, we interview a quiet person and don’t hire them because we think they lack the confidence to sell.

How do you know if you are a hunter or skinner? Below are my observations. Whichever one you feel suits you best overall will be your dominant role. These are the extreme. Don’t take this personally. Both are powerful with strengths and weaknesses allowing them to balance each other so well.

• Very low fear of rejection
• Bossy/blunt and don’t see that their words can be hurtful because they are not easily hurt
• See opportunity everywhere
• Not detail oriented
• Tend to be unorganized
• Invite change
• Overly optimistic which can sometimes hinder/delay completion of projects because they over commit believing they are super-human
• Don’t plan for problems or issues that could arise-they are already on to the next prey
• Do not want a lot of detail about anything-they “have it covered”
• Have several projects going at the same time
• Have a knack for putting people together
• Don’t see failure in anything-only see an experience they wish not to repeat
• Love meeting new people
• Travel well alone without agendas and schedules
• Know everyone and everyone is their “best friend”
• Self-absorbed
• Have a high pain threshold emotionally and physically

• Moderate to high fear of rejection
• Take things personally-if you question their work, you are questioning them because they are very proud of their work
• Very organized and detail oriented
• Balance their checkbook every month
• Love putting together systems and need things to be in a specific order/place
• Tend to be pessimistic
• Always look for what may go wrong so they are prepared to handle all situations
• Very close to their loved ones and know everyone’s schedules, birthdays and special dates
• Courteous and have a need to be loved and accepted
• Need a lot of detail when taking on a new project, but self motivated once they get it
• Ask many questions and may even rephrase the same question several times just to make sure you understand what they are asking
• Want everything to be perfect and can’t understand “wingin’ it”
• Stress about details
• Resist change
• Like being in groups of people they know well and don’t let new friends in easily
• Have very few people they would call close friends because they give so much of themselves to these people
• Loyal

You can see why these two diverse ways of being may cause people to drive each other crazy…I hope you can also see why they are such a great balance for each other. The key is truly defining what their role is, getting the ego and stress of a poor fit out of the way and strengthening the positive attributes that make them shine.

Setting the right expectations up front is key to the success of a team fit. A team leader will be very disappointed in the performance of a new team member if they put them in the wrong role. Yes, we can be trained to do anything we are physically capable of doing. I have seen life circumstances such as military duty that can turn a hunter into a more tidy person but how long will it take before they become uncomfortable, bored and complacent and lose their drive to show up? Or worse, their self esteem suffers which can infiltrate every part of their lives.

Hunter or Skinner it doesn’t matter which one you are. They are both crucial to the balance of the team and the brokerage. Look inside and bring out the best of yourself and help your team leaders balance their business and their lives and you will see great productivity and less stress.

Real Estate Technology Strategist Robyn Hardy is a speaker, trainer, coach and author. For more information please e-mail or call 520-955-3223.