5 Common Communication Breakdowns—and How to Avoid Them

  1. The manager plays favorites. For example, he divulges his plans to an associate with instructions not to tell anybody else. Within 24 hours everybody knows the information, but the story changes with each telling and soon it turns into a rumor. If there's something to be said that concerns the entire office, it should be addressed to the entire office. —Joe Meyer, Joe Meyer Presentations, Lake Grove, N.Y.
  2. The manager threatens associates. When a manager tells associates, "If this doesn't work out, I'm going to have to let you go," they get resentful, and all sorts of things happen. If there's a problem, the manager should call the associate in and say, " Here's what I'd like to do to help you. Here are your options. Let's sit down again in a week and see how this is working out.” When you decide to fire them, call them in and fire them on the spot. —Joe Meyer, Joe Meyer Presentations, Lake Grove, N.Y.
  3. Brokers tell salespeople something once and assume that's all they have to do. You need to keep reminding them. When you give salespeople a task, you need to be available to respond to questions and to remain sensitive to the fact that they need support or input to perform it. An effective manager nurtures people to get work done, rather than giving them a job and showing up two weeks later and saying, "How come it's not done?" —Hal Kahn, Kahn, Inc. REALTORS, Newburgh, N.Y.
  4. Some salespeople get important information—such as news of a change in the compensation schedules—promptly, while others do not. The people who aren't getting the information think they're considered less important, and morale drops. Usually the person who always gets the information happens to like the manager's preferred communication vehicle. Make a point of using several communication vehicles--face-to-face discussion, e-mail messages and phone calls to share important news. That way, everyone receives the information equally. —Drexanne Evers, Drexsells, Inc., Clarksville, Ohio
  5. The manager meets with a salesperson who is not meeting a sales quota and explains what needs to be done to improve, but there's no change in the associate’s behavior . The communication failure could be the result of giving too many orders at one time, failing to make sure orders are understood, putting too many don'ts in the orders instead of putting things positively, or giving insufficient instructions--or too many of them. Managers need to personalize directions and orders to fit the individual's needs and follow up to make sure their directions have been understood. “Mind your own business,” —Ted Pollock, Supervision, February 1999.
Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.