Posts Tagged ‘respect’
Monday, December 5th, 2011
No matter what business you are in, if you work with people there are some things you should always do if you want to be successful. By successful I don’t mean financially, although if you do possess these qualities that will follow, but successful in making your clients truly feel well cared for. For Realtors, it’s not just about closing the sale, but making sure our clients are represented properly, are informed throughout the process, and that they have a strong partner and watchdog from beginning to end.
If you want to make sure you are giving your clients the best, you need to possess the following traits. This by no means is the entire list, but those which I feel are the most important.
1. Listening skills. If you cannot truly listen to your clients than you may want to find another business. Listening is key to understanding your client’s goals and desires, their fears and insecurities. There is nothing more important than being a good listener, since you are representing your client’s interests. It will also give you an understanding so that if you need to tackle tough issues you know how to approach them without offending your client, creating anger or stress, or coming across like you do not care. In our fast-paced world it is easy to want to move along quickly, but take the time to really listen…you will be amazed at how much easier it makes your job, AND how much happier your clients will be!
2. Honesty and humility. Honesty and trust must be earned, and that is especially true in fiduciary relationships, like Realtor-client. Explain everything, take time to point out the possibilities and consequences of each action, even if your client is an experienced home buyer or seller. If a client asks to do something that does not feel comfortable, let them know. Trust your instincts. Always be humble and use praise as a tool – compliments are wonderful, and you should be happy. But also tell yourself that you need to keep learning, keep educating, so that you can continue to provide the best service as the market fluctuates and needs change.
3. Accessibility. Nothing makes me more frustrated than a representative who is inaccessible. If you are helping me through something, you better be there when I have questions or need something! So many Realtors do not heed this advice, and I think this is one of the biggest mistakes one can make. You surely are not helping your clients or colleagues if you don’t answer your calls, emails, and texts in a timely manner.
4. Respect for colleagues. It’s not just about your clients, but also your colleagues – other Realtors, escrow officers, mortgage professionals, title reps and others with whom you work. If you have a listing you need to call people back, provide information that is requested. Not doing so has a big impact on your own clients, and on your reputation in the industry as well.
None of the above traits are any you have not heard of in the past. But it is important to remind ourselves, especially in such a crazy world and an evolving market, that beneath it all we are simply human. Sure, we all want to make a living, but the only way we will survive this business is by putting our clients first and treating everyone with respect (even those peers who don’t seem to deserve it), including ourselves.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
I had the privilege yesterday to participate in a life-altering program that was not only the most humbling experience, but one which I truly believe every child should be able to experience. Challenge Day is a program that travels to high schools and middle schools around the country, with the goal of teaching our children about respect, love, kindness and equality. It is a program about renewal, about opening one’s eyes and realizing that every individual counts. If I could offer one piece of advice to the world’s children, it would be to participate in this activity at least once.
Challenge Day has been highlighted on MTV, via a show called If You Really Knew Me. You can go to their site to watch an episode (have tissues). I have blogged about it before, but having participated in Challenge Day personally, I will try to do it justice with my words.
100 children and about 30 adults participated in the event. The children included those who are bullies, have been bullied, those facing some tough issues, those who seem to be on top of the world – basically every type of child. Adults ranged from school administrators and teachers, to parents and other district employees. The day started off with a loud welcome and some fun games. People loosened up and began to feel comfortable sharing with each other.
Toward the middle of the day we were broken up into small “family” groups – 4-5 kids with 1-2 adults per group. In this group many feelings were shared, starting with the words “if you really knew me…” Barriers were broken down, and there was a lot of crying and sharing. Some children brought up some very tough issues they face daily, like sick or alcoholic parents, divorce, thoughts of worthlessness or contemplation of suicide. My heart ached for every person who told a story, but knowing they were able to talk about it and get it out made me feel better. It was a very emotional day.
The part of the day that will forever be with me was an activity called Cross the Line. Everyone stands on one side of a line, and the facilitator ask everyone to cross the line if… It was heart-wrenching: “Cross the line if you have ever contemplated suicide or have a friend or family member who has committed suicide…” “Cross the line if you you have been hit…” Seeing so many children cross the line for being teased or bullied, being ignored by grownups, constantly yelled at, constantly made to feel they had to be better, had rumors spread about them, had family members incarcerated, never got to be a child…the list went on.
Children should not hurt. They should not be the subject of torment and should not have to deal with issues that are so scary. There was a lot of hurt in that room – and this school is in a very “good” area. It goes to show you that it doesn’t matter where you are – it is so hard to grow up, even harder now than it was before society got faster and more technologically savvy.
Challenge Day was life-changing for me. I know, and have known for a long time, that my destiny is to work with young adults in some capacity. My own bullying stories helped one young woman in particular yesterday, who thanked me and told me that she didn’t realize other people went through the same thing she has been through at school. If you have children, or know someone who does, please speak with them or with your local high school, and try to bring this program to your campus. You will need to raise money to do so, but it will be the most incredible experience for everyone involved. Those who go through the program take what they learn and help to make campuses better and safer places.
Friday, May 13th, 2011
To whom are you accountable? What popped into your head first – boss? Spouse? Friend? Yourself?
I am amazed every day by people, and usually in a positive way. I believe that the majority of people are good, have big hearts and care about others, seek to do justice and hold themselves accountable. But of course there are some who do not. They may by nature be unwilling to hold themselves responsible, not care about how their actions affect others, or may do so because of stress (economic, relationship, illness, etc). I do not hold a PhD but I am analytical by nature and consider myself a pretty good judge of character. I created the following categories of accountability…see what you think.
The moral person holds herself accountable to herself, first and foremost. She knows if she does something that is not right she will not only affect others, but feel badly. She will want to take action and admit her faults. She also holds herself accountable to others. For many this is just part of who they are. It is part psychological and may be inbred, but also has a lot to do with how you were raised, where you live and with whom you associate yourself.
The pleaser holds himself accountable to others, like his boss or teammate, someone he looks up to or with whom he is in a relationship. He is eager to please and if he is surrounded by moral people he will likely become a moral person. His confidence will rise when he does something right, and if the people around him teach him to hold himself accountable he will be successful and confident.
The know-it-all is the person who actually thinks he is in the right, even when he is not. He may or may not hold himself accountable to anyone in particular. He is the one who, when called out for being unprofessional or making a poor choice, does not admit he is wrong or even apologize. I think deep down he knows he is not in the right, but he may see himself as superior or may just not want to admit to others that he was wrong. This person may have been surrounded by hard to please parents or peers at times of crucial development. He also may just have low self-confidence. These types may hold themselves accountable to others they admire, but they may do so temporarily, depending on what the big plan is. These people CAN be healed with a little confidence and some good guidance.
The immoral person really only cares about herself and does not hold herself accountable to others, maybe not even herself. She does not consider the feelings of others, or maybe does but does not really bother with them. She is out for herself – maybe to make a quick buck, get to the top, make more money. She may have been raised that way, or she may have hardened herself due to circumstances she has faced in life. She may even not consider her actions to be immoral or even wrong, and may just need to associate herself with the right people to change her viewpoint.
I created the above list because I see these types of people all the time. I saw them when I practiced law, when I was not working and raising my children, and throughout my real estate career. There may be a few other categories you may think of, and some people may fall into several at different times.
I think the lesson here is that we all should ask ourselves to whom we are accountable. We need to be accountable BOTH to ourselves and to our clients, peers, family, friends. If you make a mistake, do not be afraid to admit it. Do the right thing and you will not only be more successful, but happier.
Thursday, March 17th, 2011
[I want to warn you that what I am about to discuss is a sensitive subject, and I will do my best to present it in a way that hopefully will stir some dialogue. I welcome your feedback.]
There are times when I think this country has come so far in regards to racial and religious relations. Look at the Civil Rights Movement and what it did for slavery, at the horrors of the holocaust and what lessons we learned from that. We are lucky to live in a society where we are supposed to be able to be free to practice our own religions and be equal no matter our race or skin color.
But there are also times when I truly question whether we are really all equal and free. Look at the issue just this week that happened on a U.S. airline with praying Muslims–they were assumed to be terrorists. There are still country clubs in our very own nation that, while they may not state so in their membership documents, African-Americans or Jews or other races are simply not allowed. There are places in this country where discrimination still occurs. There are active chapters of hate groups.
This week something happened in my own community, in a school nonetheless, that again makes me question whether we have truly learned anything from the past. A middle school-aged child asked me why African-American kids in his school call each other the “N” word when addressing each other in a friendly manner. We got into a big discussion about Hip-Hop and Rap music and how many of the entertainers in this field also do so. Personally I think it is a terrible word, one that was born in times of slavery, one that conjures up inequality, one that formed the very pillars of that famous “I have a dream” speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. I simply do not understand why this should be ok and I could not explain to the child why this occurs.
In speaking with a friend of mine who is a PhD candidate and has looked at this issue, I was told that it is a cultural phenomenon. Apparently there are very educated African-Americans who speak this way to their close friends, and they obviously choose to do so. He pointed out that when they say it the word has to end in “a” instead of in “er,” and that if you listen to the music you will hear this.
Needless to say in light of all this I still do not understand. More importantly, what effect does this have on younger generations? Are we not showing them a lack of respect and compassion should they hear these things? After all, children cannot truly process this dichotomy and will not be able to do so until they are adults and their frontal lobes have fully matured.
On the religious front, there are school-aged children who salute each other with the “Heil Hitler” salute and draw swastikas. This is an extreme sign of disrespect toward Jews and all those who perished in the Holocaust, but to most of these kids it is just “cool.” Aside from the fact that some of the above actions could be considered human rights violations, the immediate effect is that it desensitizes those who speak/do them and those who hear them or see them acted out.
The fact of the matter is that we all need to sit down with our children and discuss these things. We need to remember to confirm the compassion that we have instilled in and taught to our children. These behaviors are signs of disrespect and if we allow them to continue in our communities and our homes I am afraid we will all slip backwards. Let’s try and raise our children to believe that we are all truly equal, no matter the color of our skin, our religious practices or sexual identities.
Until we raise the next generation to believe this, we will never truly be equal.
Sunday, February 27th, 2011
Real estate, like any sales business, thrives on competition. But it is the nature of the competition that can give the industry a bad name. There is a time for competition, which can be healthy, and a time for colleagues to cooperate–and actually they can exist simultaneously. So whether you are “the top producer” in an area, someone who sells just a few homes a year, or somewhere in between–listen up.
Realtors are a different breed of business people. True, our business involves sales, but realistically we provide much more: we are guidance counselors, teachers and personal trainers. We don’t just hand someone an apple from the bunch and take a quarter, so to speak. Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions a person makes in his or her lifetime. It is not something that typically happens quickly, and there is a lot of work involved. The Realtor who only cares about a paycheck will not last long, especially with technology driving change in our industry. We have to be smarter, more connected, better equipped to assist our clientele and each other.
In such an atmosphere there is one mantra that needs to be followed: we all need to cooperate. No kidding, you say, right? But honestly, there are many agents out there who still think it is all about themselves. Of course, we do compete with each other, but we also need to increase the trust in our industry, and that cannot be done unless we all respect each other and perform our duties in the most professional manner.
Every industry has it’s complainers, it’s sour pusses, it’s bad eggs. Look at lawyers–the general opinion seems to be that they are disliked, but if you are arrested or sued you would be calling one faster than a speeding bullet. There are many amazing lawyers out there, but the bad eggs spoil the perceptions of the industry. The same is true of real estate.
So, get out there and respect your competition. Join industry chats, follow other agents on Twitter and Facebook, read Realtor blogs, share your knowledge with other agents. Return agent phone calls and emails. It doesn’t mater how many houses you sell or how much money someone spends on marketing. If you do the best you can do with what you have and you are happy, you can only get better by cooperating with others and paying it forward.
If you want to take it one step further, keep in mind that cooperation is important but you also need to watch what you say–both to colleagues, clients and online. To read more about this click here: http://realestateandwomen.net/2011/02/23/the-importance-of-watching-what-you-say/
Sunday, August 29th, 2010
This could be a controversial post but in light of the controversy that has surfaced from Glenn Beck’s Washington, D.C. rally (on the same day that Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech), I thought it an appropriate time to address the issue of racism and respect in this country.
I am angry that racism exists; I will always be angry that there are people in this world who hate. Hate is a powerful emotion that can destroy people and cause violence and destruction. It is an emotion that is not natural, one that does not take into consideration that one person is no different, no more special, no more human, than another. It defies the notion that we are all equal. How can someone believe he is more entitled than the person standing next to him?
I have tried to teach my children that hate is wrong, but in school there are children who make racist comments all the time. My kids have experienced this. What do you think these children will grow up thinking? Is it really considered “cool” to insult people based on race or religion or differences in appearance? I would think we have come too far as a nation to raise our children to disrespect others, don’t you? But it is happening in our neighborhoods, our schools, even our own homes! Part of growing up is questioning: if kids are taught something is wrong, yet they hear it and see it when they are around other kids, don’t you think that they will question it? Or at least consider why this thing they were taught is so “wrong” is no big deal to many others? What kind of a message does this send?
Have we as a nation not learned anything from the Nazis, from the fighting between the Israelis and Palestinians, from the troubles in Iran and Iraq, from the drug lords of Southn America and Mexico who murder innocent people on a whim for being in the wrong place, from the terrorists who blew up the twin towers and killed thousands of innocent people? What will it take to make people realize that we all need to respect each other, to honor differences even if we don’t agree, to get along? After all, isn’t that the point of a democracy?
I know this is a heavy topic for a blog post, and one that I am sure will generate a lot of commentary (even it if is not written), but come on everyone! To see change we need to be change! Kids need to be raised to respect each other. While everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and those with power like Glenn Beck can draw hundreds of thousands out to listen to his views, we need to start in our own homes, in our own schools, churches and neighborhoods.
Thinking that your actions cannot make a difference is like pledging to accept hate, and saying it’s ok that these things occur. You don’t have to be a star, politician, talk show host or even have deep pockets to make a difference. Change often starts small. So stand up against hatred and small-mindedness. You CAN make a difference.
Sunday, June 20th, 2010
Communication is such an important necessity, and it is the key ingredient to effective results in most circumstances. In a world where communicating is easier than ever it astounds me that there are still people who do not communicate effectively. Here is a list of better ways to communicate that will help when negotiating, executing a task, delegating, or just about any other situation.
1. Listen. Listening is first because it is vital to understand the other person’s point of view. You may not agree with it and it may sound out of the ballpark at times, but it is imperative that you listen first. Many people are so fiercely grounded in their own opinions that they do not take the time to realize that others may feel differently. If you can listen earnestly–without being judgmental–before opining, you may come to learn a lot about the other person AND you may even see a way to compromise based on what he or she is saying.
2. Be Honest. This of course is crucial, and not only in times of disagreement. Honesty not only is a moral quality that is valued, but also says a lot about your character. If you are honest others will know that, and you will have a reputation for being honest. No matter that you may be dealing with those who are not honest, stick to your guns and don’t be afraid to be honest.
3. Share. Much like listening, sharing your side allows you to communicate effectively with the other party, and allows them to listen. Voicing concerns, fears and relevant facts help both parties to try and understand the other side.
4. Stay Calm. Staying calm when you are facing a conflict is also important to successful resolution. Even though you may not like what the other person is saying if you lose your cool it just creates frustration and a lack of respect from the person with whom you are trying to communicate. Sometimes you just have to tell the other person that you need to take a break, but don’t yell and act like a child!
5. Show Respect. For those of you who read my blog you know the importance I place on respect. It is in my opinion the most important value. When you are in disagreement or negotiations, when you are trying to figure out how to solve a problem, if you do not show respect for another person with a different view chances are things will not get accomplished; even if you do come to a conclusion a lack of respect can end the relationship on bad terms. Listening and respect go hand in hand.
Remember that many failures can be attributed to poor communication. Armies have perished because they did not know from where the enemy was attacking. Marriages have broken up because the couple didn’t communicate with each other. Deadlines are missed because of poor communication. Wars have been waged because of misunderstandings due to failed communication (and lack of respect and tolerance of other viewpoints and beliefs). Communication skills can be challenging, so if you need to brush up remember the five points above. The more we try to be better communicators, the better off we are.
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
(The following article was featured as a guest commentary in the San Diego Coast News)
What has happened to good, old-fashioned respect? There are signs everywhere that it may be disappearing, but we need to bring it back or risk living in a world where no one cares and nothing is accomplished.
As the parent of two children, one in elementary and one in middle school, I often hear stories from my kids that not only shock me, but also make me feel sad. The stories are about kids who insult teachers during class, spray paint horrible things about Principals and staff. In fact, the other day I was picking up a carpool at the middle school and on my way out a boy made a vulgar hand gesture to me. If my children ever did anything like that to an adult they would suffer consequences. But how would I know? I teach my children to respect others and themselves, and I can only hope and pray that they do so.
Disrespect among peers has plagued young people and continues to make headlines across the nation and world. Cyber bullying, while a form of anguish and torment, also has roots in respect (or lack of it). Why do young people think they are empowered to affect the lives of others in a way that could lead to severe and possibly irreversible consequences, including murder and suicide? Where along the way did this come to be acceptable?
Some people say that lack of respect is caused by the advance in technology, or the fact that in many households both parents or the single parent works, leaving children home alone for long periods of time. This theory advocates that there is no longer a ‚ÄúLeave it to Beaver‚Äù situation where there is a parent who is always around for the children, thus causing them find ways to entertain themselves that may get them into trouble. The days of playing in the front yard with the neighborhood kids seem to be over in most cases.
The internet and mobile access to it has been blamed for the lack of respect as well. The amount of information available to children these days is scary‚Äîit is easy to learn how to cheat on a paper or test, find or make weapons or bombs, or watch pornography‚Ä¶all at our fingertips. Social network sites like Facebook and MySpace are very popular amongst young adults, and are the way to communicate. Unfortunately many use it inappropriately to tarnish reputations and hurt others.
Video games and the media also play a role in the demise of respect. Far from the innocence of games of the past like PacMan and Asteroids, today’s video games can be extremely violent. Exploding bodies, blood and torture are the norm in many popular games, creating desensitization issues. Many kid-friendly movies and even television shows on child-appropriate networks portray violence, adult themes (like sex, drugs and alcohol), and even young actors who have to make uncharacteristic grown-up decisions.
There are many factors that contribute to the growing lack of respect today, but one thing is clear: we need to fix it before respect disappears. It is not only the young generation, but also the older ones who demonstrate behaviors that are disrespectful. As an example to the younger generations it is imperative that we set examples of proper behavior. Work stress, lack of sleep, financial problems, relationship issues, traffic‚Ä¶there is a lot on most peoples’ plates right now. But to get through it we need to respect each other. Getting angry at someone because they cut you off or cut in front of you does not help you at all. Why raise your heart rate, make yourself upset?
Each day, each moment is a gift, and each person has an equal right to that gift. If we all start living according to this principal we will naturally be more respectful, and the world will be a better place.