Leading Through the Storm: Guiding Your Agents Through Times of Change and Controversy

The real estate industry is no stranger to change and controversy. In times of uncertainty, it’s up to leaders to guide agents through uncertain seas.

Recent lawsuits against the National Association of Realtors® have created new waves of uncertainty for agents and brokers alike, leaving many feeling unsettled (or even downright worried) and questioning established practices. However, strong leadership can provide shelter during stormy times, giving your uncertain team members a haven of safety and security.  

The ancient Roman writer Publilius Syrus stated, “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” What he meant was that true leadership quality is revealed when conditions become difficult. As real estate leaders, we must embrace this challenge. Rather than waiting for the lawsuits to play out, we need to take proactive steps to support our agents now.  

What Does Weak Leadership Look Like? 

During such times as we’re experiencing now, weak leadership can result in a myriad of risks and detrimental outcomes. This includes ineffective decision-making, poor communication, diminished trust and confidence, inefficient resource allocation, employee disengagement and high turnover, among other things. Sounds like something you need to avoid, doesn’t it? These risks collectively threaten the success and stability of your business, because when your team members don’t feel secure in your leadership, they won’t be effective either, and then nobody wins. 

What a Strong Leader Looks Like:

Even though these ongoing lawsuits seem to change the real estate landscape on a daily basis, we have a number of strategies for demonstrating solid and forward-thinking leadership during this industry shakeup so that you can feel confident in the direction the company is going, and that your team will have the reassurance and tools they need to keep going in their business. 

  • Communicate often. Keep your agents well-informed about the facts of the lawsuits and your brokerage’s stance. Be open about the potential impacts, both positive and negative. You might think, “I’ll share info later once we know what’s going on,” but suppressing information breeds suspicion, while transparency builds trust.  
  • Acknowledge uncertainty. Your agents are likely concerned about what these lawsuits could mean for their careers. Admit that the future is unclear until rulings come down, then focus the conversation on constructive actions you can take together despite the unknowns. What are some protocols you can put in place now in preparation? Consider having a board in your office to post the latest updates so everyone can be on the same page.  
  • Find opportunities within the challenges. Is there a chance to re-examine your value proposition and make positive changes moving forward? Could new business models emerge that provide agents with more options? Reframing the situation as an opportunity can motivate your team and give you the opportunity to rethink (and reshape) the way you do business. 
  • Embrace change. The real estate industry evolves constantly. These lawsuits may spark needed reforms, but that isn’t a bad thing. Some of the greatest innovations in the real estate industry have come out of times of great change, and this is no different. Encourage your team members to be willing to adapt to new realities, with flexibility and resilience. Your optimism will inspire agents to see change as progress, and clients will see your team actively responding and adapting to changes quickly, raising your reputation. 
  • Keep the focus on customers. No matter how much disruption occurs internally, agents should continue providing excellent service to home buyers and sellers. Make this priority clear by sharing stories of agents who go above and beyond during tough times. Ensuring your team members always have what they need to rock in this business frees their minds to focus on their clients rather than their uncertainties.  
  • Seek feedback and input. Agents will appreciate being asked for their opinions and concerns. You may gain valuable insights about issues you’ve overlooked, giving you the opportunity to address them and find a workable solution, even if it’s temporary while the lawsuit continues. At a minimum, they will feel heard and empowered amid the uncertainty, and at best, they will be inspired and driven to do their best. 

Coping with Uncertainty 

You’ve probably already seen this in your office – agents are nervous and maybe scrambling to understand what this change means to their business..   

Christine L. Carter said in her article in Psychology Today, “Sometimes—maybe always—it’s more effective not to attempt to create certainty. Though evolution might have rigged our brains to resist uncertainty, we can never really know what the future will bring. And in improbable situations like the pandemic, which has massively disrupted our routines and utterly destroyed our best-laid plans, we need to learn to live with ambiguity.”  

She goes on to give 3 suggestions for coping with uncertainty:

  1. Don’t resist: resisting the current reality only prolongs our difficulties and amplifies negative emotions. Instead, embracing acceptance, especially self-acceptance, is a counterintuitive path to happiness. Research supports that accepting the present reality allows us to move forward effectively, unburdened by fear or uncertainty. This practice involves surrendering resistance to both the situation itself and our emotions surrounding it. 
  2. Pay attention: The antidote to uncertainty is not certainty, but rather being present in the moment. Instead of dwelling on a frightening and unknown future, we can center ourselves by focusing on our breath and checking in with our current state. This can be incorporated into simple routines, like handwashing, where we pause to acknowledge our emotions and their physical manifestations. By approaching our experience with curiosity and acceptance, we gain control over what we choose to direct our attention towards. This empowers us to disengage from overwhelming news or negative thoughts, and instead, tune into our present inner reality. This practice ultimately shields our inner truth from the challenges of the external world, fostering a sense of tranquility, open-mindedness, and non-reactivity. 
  3. Find meaning in the chaos: Meaning, according to social psychologists, is the assessment of how much purpose, value, and impact we feel our lives have. Our motivation is greatly fueled by our sense of significance to others. Knowing that our efforts benefit someone else leads us to work harder, longer, and with greater satisfaction. When we encounter a problem, the next step is recognizing our personal role in finding a solution. This involves identifying our skills, talents, and interests, and considering how we can contribute. Ultimately, meaning and purpose serve as sources of hope. In times of uncertainty or fear, understanding our significance to others and having a clear sense of purpose provides a grounding force unlike anything else. 

Source: Psychology Today – Three Ways to Cope With Uncertainty 

Calm seas make for smooth sailing, but skilled captains also know how to navigate a storm. Strong leadership amidst rough times comes from listening more than talking. By facing these challenges openly, yet optimistically, and asking questions of your agents, you can keep your fingers on the pulse of your team’s mental health.  When you find opportunities in what might be unlikely places, real estate leaders can demonstrate their commitment to supporting their agents and helping them grow, no matter what is going on in the industry.  

Keep the crew—your agents—unified and hopeful by steering a steady course together. 

Check out our Lawsuit Information Hub to stay updated on the news and our training sessions to master the changes coming your way.

For Your Agents… 

It’s all too easy for real estate agents to become distracted, particularly when building their business in an industry that never STOPS changing! Keeping them on track in the midst of uncertainty and preoccupation with the lawsuit news isn’t impossible. 

That’s why we have an article we think would be great for you to share with them. It outlines the little things they can do to stay focused on what’s important while staying up to date with what’s going on.  

Check it out  here!

Know that agents do NOT have to go it alone in this market. Our goal is to bring the tools, training, and coaching each need to not only survive the shifts – but build solid, dependable foundations they can count on and help them build clients for life. If that sounds like a goal that can help you reach YOUR goals – then join us for our Free Weekly Real Estate Webinar Training Series! Click below to register for the next one! 

power agent weekly free real estate webinar series

Darryl Davis is an award-winning international speaker, real estate and business coach, and best-selling author of three books, all published by McGraw Hill Publishers.   

For more than 35 years, Darryl has spoken to and trained more than 100,000 sales professionals around the globe to more than double their production year after year. His book, How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, tops Amazon’s charts for one of the most sold books to real estate agents.   

He was awarded the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation by the National Speaker’s Association which is given to less than 2% of all speakers worldwide.   

Whether from a stage or Zooming into a virtual room, Darryl’s extraordinary humor, relatability, and natural gift for teaching real-world, results-producing skills and mindsets to audiences have made him a client favorite throughout his career.   

Audiences will laugh, learn, and ultimately walk away better prepared for a changing world, with the tools, skills, and training they need to build their businesses with more ease and less stress and to design lives and careers worth smiling about.   

Bring One of Darryl’s W.O.R.K. Topics to Your Organization!  

By providing your agents with the knowledge and insights they need to stay ahead of the game, you can ensure that they are equipped to handle any situation that comes their way! Contact us here to learn more! 


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