Misplaced loyalty is hurting you and your family, writes Dan Argent.
I was talking about admirable human traits with a group of agents recently, and loyalty ranked up there with honesty, integrity and courage.
Yes, loyalty as an overall concept has plenty of positives, but I do have one problem with it.
A bad decision on where you place your loyalty can end up hurting those you owe the most to — and it’s something I’m seeing regularly in the real estate industry.
Let me explain.
A damaging approach
Most of us apply some degree of loyalty across a number of life’s facets.
For example, you will choose to support a particular football team, even when they’re down the ladder and struggling to make the finals.
And then there’s loyalty to your life partner, choosing to exclude other relationships in order to strengthen just that special one.
Yet another arena where we express loyalty is in our workplaces.
It’s a trait most employers look for in a potential hire. Will this person be part of our team? Will they champion what we do? Will they keep quiet about sensitive information? Can I rely on them to do what’s best for the business?
Where loyalty fails
I admire loyalty, but I think your loyalties can be misplaced, misunderstood and all too often taken advantage of.
Here’s where I see the fault in being blindly loyal.
Most of us don’t prioritise our loyalties correctly, particularly around work and, in the end, we hurt those who deserve it most.
Answer this question: are you more loyal to your family, or to your boss?
Most people say “family”, of course. If your child is sick or your elderly mum needs urgent help, you’ll take a day or two off work to deal with the crisis.
But our workplaces tend to be less loyal to us than we are to them. They take their employees for granted. I see this particularly in the old agency structure.
Under the old model, most of the work is done by the agent. Securing listings, managing the marketing, closing the deal and seeing it to completion. All this for a comparatively small percentage of the total commission.
What do they get from their employer? An administration system that could be provided by a competent third party at a fraction of what the agent gives away, and a brick-and-mortar office that today’s agents rarely need to attend. There might also be some training and the occasional awards night thrown in, too — but hardly anything worth half your GCI.
Back in the days before technology, the franchise and agency were probably worth their share. But not anymore.
Yet if you approached your boss and asked for more commission, they’d probably deliver you a line about not being a “team player” and asking why you want to hurt the business’s bottom line.
Re-align your loyalties
I believe any agent who has reached a certain level of success in their specialty field needs to pause and think about where their loyalties lie.
Because the answer is to you and your family, not your boss — even if you’ve been there since the start of your career, and they’ve taught you everything you know. If the opposite were true, we’d stay at school for the rest of our lives.
You should be making choices that will progress your career and finances and advance the lives of the people you love the most. That extra income that you’re handing over to the boss could be going toward setting up your own financial success. It could provide foundational wealth, so you’ll have more time and freedom to live the life you and your partner wants, as well as provide wonderful opportunities for your children.
There is a world where you could be building a business to be proud of, while making substantially more income AND be in control of how your time is spent.
I realise it’s scary for loyal people to consider stepping away from a company where they’ve become entrenched and feel they’re being respected, but unless that businesses is delivering more to you than they were five, 10 or even 20 years ago, they are taking your skills and efforts for granted.
You and your family can do better, and there’s no reason to feel bad about seeking to do that. In fact, it should make you proud.
To continue the sports metaphor, professional football players change teams all the time in order to strike a better deal. They are loyal to those who deliver them the most benefit. Why can’t you do the same?
Joining an agency, learning the ropes of the industry and being loyal to that employer while you’re working with them is fair enough.
But it’s not like you’ve pledged a blood oath to stand by their side at the expense of all others.
When the time is right, it’s OK to advance your own interests by choosing to start a business and plant a flag that says my loyalty is to me and my family.
It’ll feel hard, but the rewards to those you love and the pride you’ll feel will be enormous.
By Dan Argent, UrbanX