Have you ever had a bad apple on your team? A bad apple is rotten. It may not have been rotten from the beginning, but somewhere along the way, it became rotten. When a rotten apple is surrounded by other apples, it turns them rotten, too.
I learned this the hard way…a few times (I must admit). Team members should be hired slowly and fired quickly. Sometimes my heart holds on too long, as I truly care for people and always think I can “fix” them and/or help them or their attitude. Unfortunately, change can only happen from within, and only from a true desire and willingness.
As a high-performing team, we have many team meetings, daily huddles, lead calling time, team outings, retreats, team lunches, call blitz nights, and more. It occurred to me one day that I was making excuses too often for a certain team member. This team member always had “something come up” and missed several team meetings and events. When she did show up, she was late. I kept telling myself her heart was in it and she was just going through a rough patch. She was getting the sales and was a producer on our team, so I didn’t want to ruffle too many feathers.
What I didn’t realize is that I was ruffling feathers, alright—not with the agent in question, but with the rest of the team. For way too long—and I mean months—I made many excuses for this person. It wasn’t until my coach one day brought it front and center for me. Once I was honest with my coach and with myself, it hit me like a light bulb. I needed to get this person off my team, and fast.
We have core values. We hire by them and fire by them—or so we say. I let this one go too long and it affected our team culture in a way I never could have imagined. My letting her make excuses and allowing her to not be present showed the rest of the team that they, too, could be a team member like that. After several excruciating months for me and releasing two more team members, I finally had the team culture back. It took hard work, recruiting agents that did fit our team culture, and more. I had to learn the hard way.
If/when you find yourself in a situation such as this, hopefully you can catch and correct the bad behavior/attitude from the very beginning. Weekly one-on-ones with my team now have helped us communicate with one another and hold each other accountable. As a team leader, I aim to lead by example and inspect what I expect. By following those two simple philosophies, you can be steps ahead of other team leaders. Don’t let a bad apple spoil your team and culture. Always remember: Hire slow and fire fast. When someone shows you their true self, believe them.
As Jim Collins said in his book “Good to Great,” get the right people in the right seats and you’ll see success. Good luck!
Brooke Sines is a Workman Success Systems Senior Coach and full-time REALTOR® with RE/MAX of Grand Rapids who has been in the business of working with people all of her life. After working for several years as an entertainment agent that kept her traveling a lot during the week, she wanted a profession that would allow her to be home more to enjoy the day-to-day with her family. It was her love of people and real estate that lead her into a career as a full-time REALTOR®, where in her first year she was awarded the Rising Star Award for Sales & Excellence. Contact her at Brooke@WorkmanSuccessSystems.com. For more information, please visit www.workmansuccesssystems.com.