I am a sales manager for a real estate company. My job is to recruit agents and then get them to close deals.

Sales have been down lately. For many reasons, I am having trouble recruiting good agents, and the market sucks.

My bosses boss (the owner) just put the hammer down on my boss with pressure to make things move.

Because of this pressure on my boss, he is turning around and being a real jerk to me. Putting undue and unrealistic pressure on me.

I have basically given my life to the company, I work more hours than could ever be asked of me, i make my own sales when its not even required of me, I help other people out all the time, and I dont think his unrealistic pressure is necessary or appreciated.

I want to tell him hes being a jerk, or that hes putting the pressure on the wrong person, but is he being a jerk? is he putting pressure on the wrong person? I work much better with positive feedback, so how do I get him to let me know that I need to miraculously pull sales out of my ass, without being a jerk.

And should i just turn around and call my agents and be jerks to them? I am not sure that would help.

I wish I could have Horstman in my ear when I call him

US41's picture

I did not meet Mike and Mark by finding the web site. My company brought them in to help us manage better. So, I met them in person without even having an interest in being a manager any longer.

My original attitude was "I hate managing. It stinks. This job blows. Please someone just kill me."

When I first encountered Mike and Mark, they told me some very unhappy truths that I did not want to hear. I was a little upset after my first encounter with them. They were very professional in their presentation - its just that I didn't want it to own it myself and my big ego was in the way.

I got over myself. I went to their site. I listened to all the podcasts. I had nothing to lose, so I tried out their methods. They worked. I tried more MT techniques. They worked even better. The more stuff I incorporated - the more I listened to Mark and Mike, the more I felt better, and the better everything at work went.

I was sold. I saw that they were right and I was wrong. I realized that my response to their umbrella in my ribs was the wrong choice. I corrected my error in judgment and changed the way I behave as a result.

I've been promoted repeatedly since that day two years ago. I dress better, my work is appreciated, and I'm a valued member of the staff. I make more money. I don't even recognize myself.

Here is the technique I used to get over my bruised, quite huge, and very fragile ego. I've modified it a little with some wisdom from MT to help out with the boss scenario you provided. You came here for help, so you probably are much more solid than I am and don't need this advice, but here it is anyway.

When I am upset, I use an exercise called journaling. I write about how I feel until I have written myself out of the feedback loop and have some distance between the stimulus and my original response. It helps me choose a new response.

[b]1. Focus on behaviors, not conclusions.[/b]

"...being a jerk" is a conclusion - not a behavior. What behaviors is your boss engaging in that irritate you? List them to yourself at home. What has he said? What movements did he make with his face and body? What actions has he taken? Focus on his behavior, not on adjectives that describe and characterize his behavior.

[b]2. You are being poked with an umbrella[/b]

In writing, for yourself, describe in detail exactly what of the above behaviors of your bosses that actually affect you. How much of this is you doing it to yourself as your choice to react ineffectively to his behavior?

Realize that you are being poked with an umbrella. He's poking you. You are choosing how to respond and feel about it. Own your emotions and choose to feel differently about it.

Write about why you might actually be ticked off about his behavior. Did he point something out that you believe is true and do not like to think about it? Did he threaten your job security? Anger is usually about fear. What are you afraid of?

[b]3. No feedback for your boss[/b]

The man who buys the groceries you shovel into your child's mouth is immune to feedback. Do not give him feedback. It will not end well if you choose this response. The choice is yours - the consequences are likely unproductive long-term even if short-term pleasure is there to be had.

Write down the positive feedback you would give yourself instead if you handle this well. "When my boss does X and I do Y, then I am awesome because..."

[b]4. Affirmations [/b]

Now that you have done that, write down 4 or 5 affirmations to read and repeat to yourself in the morning and before you have any interactions with your boss based on your own positive feedback.

Some examples (you will have to come up with your own):

1. I can use my boss's negative feedback to improve myself
2. When my boss is stressed out, I will help by doing A, B, and C
3. I can help the company by coming up with a different approach to the current problem. I will have this read by Friday and show it to them.
4. Chaos and fear breeds opportunity. I will seize the moment and show them that I can show them a way out of this mess.

Opportunity is knocking at your door my friend. Turn your mind's eye outward instead of inward and grab for the brass ring instead of focusing on how irritating people are when opportunities arise against all laid out plans. This could actually be the turning point in your career - for the better!!!

I hope I am not being to presumptuous to write this response. From your posting, I assumed this would be helpful. I think if you write this stuff down, you WILL have a Horstman in your ear tomorrow.

Anyway, it sure helps me.

FlatFeeKing's picture

Thank you so much for your reply. I had just enough time to vent and get over myself by the time I read this. I have realized that he isnt being a jerk, he is just trying to give me pressure, and he hasnt listened to MT podcasts yet to know an effective way of doing it.

Plus I guess I could use the kick in the ass he gave me. I probably should be doing better than I am, and I need to find enough respect for him and myself to "prove that I can do it"

I need to think out what you said about not giving him feedback, I am not totally convinced that it wouldnt help to say "I respond better to this kind of feedback, not this kind" but in the meantime, he probably would appreciate a "yes sir, I will do everything in my power to reach your (ridiculously unrealistic) goals."

Its a really small company, so the situations dont always exactly match with what MT podcasts say, but I am usually able to take some pretty good info from them, and the forum is pretty nice too.

Thanks again for your response.

jhack's picture

US41's post is (as usual) a good one. Let me add a couple thoughts:

Don't give him feedback. At least wait until you show good results...

I've worked in a lot of small companies, and M&M's casts are absolutely a match - maybe they use more big company examples, but the tools work regardless.


FlatFeeKing's picture

Thanks for that jhack. I guess I feel like I have been showing him good results the year I have been with him. I dont think "oh he couldnt get rid of me" or "the company wouldnt go on without me" but I am certainly the strongest player it has. What I mean is, I would like to think I have already shown good results.

bffranklin's picture

[quote="FlatFeeKing"]Thanks for that jhack. I guess I feel like I have been showing him good results the year I have been with him. I dont think "oh he couldnt get rid of me" or "the company wouldnt go on without me" but I am certainly the strongest player it has. What I mean is, I would like to think I have already shown good results.[/quote]

Careful with this line of thinking -- I've gone down this road, and hubris is the only way to describe it. You were compensated for the results you produced. If you want to continue being compensated, you need to produce more.

You're only the strongest player if you keep having big wins. Just look at the end of Ali's boxing career.

FlatFeeKing's picture


Mark's picture

What US41 said. I told you he was good.

And be smart - get your resume ready.


cb_bob's picture

FlatFeeKing -

Aside from seconding what the others have said, I would like to add the real estate angle to this conversation.

First of all, the market does NOT suck. People are still moving and agents who never belonged in the business are getting out. There is less competition for business than there has been in a long time. If you really do think that the "market sucks," you will have a very hard time recruiting agents. Would you work for a sales manager who thinks that the "market sucks?" I know I wouldn't.

I have worked for a very large real estate company for the past eight years in multiple locations across the country. I started in sales and worked my way up to an executive position. I will tell you the same thing that I have been telling our branch managers and sales associates. The last five years have been fun, but many of us have lost track of what it is like to work in a "normal" market. Those who survive 2008 and the first half of 2009, will be in a great position to make a lot of money in 2010. To survive the next year and a half, you are going to have to work harder than you have ever worked. You will have to tenaciously follow up with every lead, including recruiting leads, seller leads and ESPECIALLY buyer leads. In short, we all have to roll up our sleeves and get involved in some good, old-fashioned HARD WORK.

My best advice is to find a way to motivate and inspire everyone you come into contact with in the next twelve months. Now is the time for leadership!


rthibode's picture

Nice post US41! I'm printing and putting it in my monthly review file. I know the things you've said are true, and I know I need to hear them often to keep remembering.

FlatFeeKing -- (I just realized you aren't Flat Feet!) Good luck with changing your mind set. You are in an industry where a lot of people are probably panicking right now. If I were you I'd learn as much as you can from this situation by following US41's advice, and be ready with your resume just in case.

WillDuke's picture

US41 put in a long post there, so some might have skimmed it quickly. Don't. That's a very honest and well thought out collection of thoughts and suggestions.

It's hard to make such an honest assessment of our own strengths and weaknesses. It's even harder to admit when we're wrong. Here US41 shows us the payoff. I'm a big fan of lemonade, but here's a guy that specifically shows us how to squeeze some lemons!

Thank you. I think I will print this one up.

LouFlorence's picture

Great post US 41!


ramiska's picture

I often am guilty of quickly skimming the longer posts (sorry). I always make sure to slow down and read those posted by US41. Definitely a very insightful poster and a asset to the community. Thanks.

mauzenne's picture


Nice post ... you've come a long way!

Very Proud,

eagerApprentice's picture

More praise for US41 from me - excellent, well-laid out thinking. A great bit of education for me. Copied and in my notes (which are looking more like a book by now!).

Just one more thought~

[quote]"I hate managing. It stinks. This job blows. Please someone just kill me." [/quote]

Is it possible your boss is thinking this right now as well? Could explain some of his behavior too.

P.S. - That line made me laugh out loud in the cafe here... ahh the stares I'm getting~


marclawrence13's picture

What if your boss is motivating his top performer, because that is where the biggest gains are. What a complement.