Leading a team remotely can be a change of pace, but when executed correctly, it can bring a bounty of rewards. Just ask Fykes Realty Group team leader Tiffany Fykes, who is no stranger to remote leadership – even before lockdown restrictions came into place, she had already spent eight months virtually guiding her Nashville, Tennessee-based team. Up until May, Fykes was doing so from a hotel room in Taiwan, which she was sharing with her husband and children (a 13-hour time difference!). Here, she shares what she’s learned about successfully leading her 12-person, $40M in volume-producing team … even from afar.
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Establish an A.M. Routine
In order to ensure that everyone on the team is aware of each other’s priorities, Fykes hosts daily 8 a.m. morning huddles, during which each team member discusses their ONE Thing (the most important thing to do so that everything else becomes easier or unnecessary), as well as their affirmation or gratitude for the day. “Right now, my ONE Thing is leading my team,” she shares. “There is so much noise, so I am helping reduce the noise for them.”
The team has established a good sense of camaraderie around supporting each other and holding each other accountable to make sure they do, indeed, prioritize one single thing. “It allows you to be a better communicator and a better teammate when you know what everybody else is focused on,” she says.
After the morning huddle, the team uses video conferencing to practice scripts, and stay on the call for an additional two to three hours in order to lead generate. “We do the hardest thing first and together,” Fykes says.
Hold Office Hours
At the beginning of her remote journey, Fykes made herself available to her team to understand their needs. “I had a meeting with every single person, asking the following questions: What do you need? How do you feel? What is this really like for you? It really came down to the fact that everybody missed what I call nonessential communication.”
Now, she employs daily office hours, where she will be present on a video conferencing platform for one hour, and her team knows that they are free to hop on and ask any questions. “As far as any emergencies, everyone on my team knows that they have the power to make decisions. I don’t want to be a leader that has to make all the decisions,” she says.
For the Fykes Realty Group, Slack has proven to be a powerful communication tool that brings closeness among team members. The team sets up a different channel for each individual client, looping in everyone who is part of a particular transaction. They also use the #random channel automatically generated by Slack as a place to store light and sunny memes and funny one-off comments.
In addition, Fykes has created a timely COVID-19 channel which offers her team essential information on the current real estate market. Within it, the focus is not on the virus itself, but rather information pertinent to the real estate market as a result of the conditions brought on by the virus. Fykes follows the MLS and shares information on how many houses were listed and sold each week and any success stories that team members can leverage in client conversations.
“For example, we had a house that was under contract before lockdown and then fell out during the inspection for silly reasons. Within two days, we had five offers and it went back under contract $20K more than before. That’s a story we want people to tell,” she shares.
In addition, the channel keeps a running list of companies hiring in their area, so agents are able to share during care calls if they discover that someone in their sphere has experienced job loss.
Make Over Your Schedule
Remember that productivity looks different at the moment. It is time to throw out your calendar and start over. Fykes shares a story of her listing agent, who was struggling at the beginning of this new lifestyle. “She wasn’t succeeding at work because her kids were interrupting her, and she wasn’t succeeding at being a mom because work was interrupting that.”
After observing that her children had the most energy in the morning, the agent rearranged her schedule so that she logs in for the morning huddle and script practice, then takes two hours off to spend time with the kids and logs back in for afternoon lead gen. “Since making the change, she has set three appointments and put two or three homes under contract in a week by doing that.”
Assess your own schedule by asking yourself: “Where can I get the biggest bang in each of the categories that I need to excel in right now? When am I most productive? When are my kids most needy?” From there, it is all about trusting your observations and employing some trial and error.
Every night before going to bed, Fykes and her husband sit down to compare notes and confirm their schedule for the upcoming day. They make sure everyone is in the know on what is going on first thing in the morning and the first half of the day. At lunch, they check in for any updates.
Want to hear more about leading a remote team? Register today for Mega Camp and join the “Lead a Winning Remote Team” panel discussion featuring Fykes for more ideas that will have your team soaring to success.Register for Mega Camp