One of the most frustrating signs of team disengagement can be a lack of communication. A team member who was once open and informative suddenly becomes more withdrawn. It often shows up at team meetings where they have begun to give simple yes and no responses to your questions and started sitting at the far end of the table or moved into the background. Unlike some of the other signs of disengagement however, this behaviour is not always an indicator that they may be thinking of leaving.
There can be several reasons for the silent treatment so let’s have a look at a couple of them. The first and most common is they’re using the silent treatment as a form of payback or punishment. This often occurs as a response to being disciplined or corrected by the management team for something that is sometimes quite insignificant. It’s hard to stop, as it is a skill that we develop when we are toddlers and then go on to perfect later in life with our partners. Time is a great healer and you will probably see them back to normal within a couple of days.
Secondly and the more concerning is that they have become so used to management having no or little interest in their ideas or input that they have little motivation to come forth with new ideas and no longer bother. If the management team is heavy in Steel energy they can become so process and system focussed that they see a new idea from the shop floor as a distraction or a threat to progress. If the team member is high in Dynamo energy, coming up with new ideas and solutions is one of their greatest assets and putting a lid on them will see them disengage in a heartbeat.
Business owners need to master the art of listening, filtering and then utilising ideas from the team as many a business has been propelled forward by an idea that was put forward by a team member. Culture and team engagement are an essential element of a successful business and being non-receptive or rejecting outright the team’s ideas is a recipe for high team turnover and growth stagnation.
Finally, a lack of communication can indicate that a team member is about to leave. When people have decided to move on you will often be the last to know. They may be negotiating with a prospective employer and trying to fly under the radar as they may feel a little guilty. If there has been some sort of confrontation as a trigger for their departure, they will probably just turn up each day and do the minimal required to allay suspicion until they formalise their exit. Either way or whatever the reason, we need to address and diagnose it at the earliest. Inaction will allow the opportunity for damage and businesses who fails to draw on the ideas and experience of the team is a business that is on life support. Be aware of the lull before the storm.
The message I would like to leave you with is to keep your team in flow by understanding their strengths and their challenges and then leverage these for the benefit of the team and the profitability of the business.
Identify, attract, recruit, train and retain the best people for your team. With a combined experience of over 40 years in the Real Estate industry, Julie and Neil are well suited to understanding the challenges of your profession. Thanks to a simple, logical, focussed and easy to implement system. Agent Dynamics has been able to assist over a thousand principals, business owners’ leaders and real estate professionals just like you to achieve the success you are wanting.