When people look at The Jim Allen Group, they recognize it as a high-performing team—and for that, I’m grateful. In all of my years as a Realtor, engineer, and business owner, one thing that’s made me the proudest is this fact: JAG continues to earn accolades as the Triangle’s top real estate team. It’s an honor to lead such an outstanding group of people and continue to see them flourish in the real estate industry.
I’m frequently asked about the secret to our success, and I can tell you it takes more than a bunch of great resumes. It takes a lot of work, just as much cultivation, and a massive amount of inspiration. And even with all of that, my team is only as good as we empower each other to be. But what I’ve found is there are important strategies that help my team succeed.
If you’re looking for ways to build your team into a real rock star team, the following five tips are what I’ve found to be the most effective ways to make that happen.
1. Live your mission and values
When you’re building a business, defining what you stand for from the start will keep you grounded and working toward a clear objective. Your mission and values also give your employees clarity about their goals and their roles in accomplishing them.
The cool thing about having well-designed mission and values statements is that they serve as a guide. No matter what decision you’re making, those statements will quickly show if the decision aligns with your business. That includes the important role of guiding your team. Your team needs to be on board with what your company believes and live up to it in their own decision-making, too. Simply put, if you’re not living up to those values and showing your team what they mean within your business, stop everything, and make that your top priority.
Many believe leadership starts from the top down. But real leadership starts with a solid foundation. Everything else will follow.
2. Create an incredible culture
Great culture takes more than scheduling post-work outings and providing pizza for lunch. While those things are nice for showing your team how much you appreciate their work and efforts, they’ll never make up for problems that exist within a company’s culture. To build a great culture effectively, you must stay engaged as a leader.
It’s important to stay on the pulse of what’s happening within your company. Your team should have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively. That could mean software and computers. It could also mean regular training and a collaborative setting. It may also include the flexibility to have a phenomenal work/life balance. The key is your team should feel valued. They should know that their voices are heard and that they are critical to the company’s future. That safety and appreciation will go further than a Friday afternoon happy hour, I promise. (Still, don’t forget the occasional Friday afternoon happy hour, especially if it’s to celebrate their successes and hard work.)
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Through the years, I’ve always found that the more transparency in a business, the better. That goes for every aspect of a business.
Communicate openly and clearly with everyone from clients to your business partners to staff at every level. Business transparency creates a happier workforce and builds trust, not just with your team but with anyone who works with you, too. With transparency, your company’s integrity will grow, people will want to work with and for your organization, and you’ll create a team that’s unified, highly successful, and happy.
To build a transparent organization, you must be willing to empower your team to share candidly and openly. Seek out new ideas from everyone and be willing to hear ideas and input that might challenge you. Be honest about company performance and goals and challenge your team to invest in those goals. Any efforts to communicate clearly leads to better morale, boosts employee performance and ensures your business stays top-of-mind for your customers and partners.
4. Build empathetic, open-minded leaders
I’m a big believer in building strong teams using empathy and an open mind. While an organization’s leaders are put in place for many different reasons, a truly great leader has the courage and integrity to create a supportive environment for their staff. A great leader recognizes why empathy is important: because it’s not just about you, the leader. It takes an entire team of diverse perspectives, effective communication, and most importantly, the willingness to understand what someone else is experiencing to build a great team.
The more a leader is willing to hear someone else’s perspective and focus on providing a supportive environment where staff can grow, the happier that team will be to show up and give 110 percent every day.
5. Hire people, not positions
One of the things I love about my entire team is how gifted they are. As I mentioned previously, it takes more than great resumes to build a high-performing team. But I also don’t want to downplay those resumes. I’ve hired highly seasoned professionals with massive sales numbers and numerous awards under their belts. I’ve also hired real estate rookies because they have the type of drive that I recognize will define the future of our business.
The important thing I’ve found in my years of business is that it takes the right people to ensure we’ve built an incredible team. While that experienced professional might make sense for your needs, don’t count out someone who may be missing the lengthy experience just to fill the position you think you need. Look for who matches the culture; you might just be surprised by what they bring to the table.
Implementing these team strategies
It may sound easy to follow these simple strategies, but businesses often fail to set up the right culture to ensure their team is performing its best. My advice is this: make sure to constantly check in with your team members to make sure they have everything they need to be successful. Always encourage transparency on your team to ensure you aren’t missing anything. When your team is truly happy and inspired, you’ll know, because success will follow.
What strategies have you implemented to build a high-performing team? Feel free to share them below or send any feedback or questions my way.
Jim Allen is a business leader and entrepreneur who has built one of the top-producing real estate groups in the Triangle. He is President of The Jim Allen Group, which is consistently named one of the top real estate teams in North Carolina and even North America.