The Psychology of Real Estate Teams


Real estate teams are favored for their ability to drive business volume, provide specialized knowledge and deliver greater customer service outcomes. They can reward in many ways, from improving client relationships to creating greater efficiencies in processes. 

But not all teams are created equal and, as the research suggests, higher-performing teams share certain psychological characteristics that may be the secret to their success. 

Understanding the psychology of teamwork can help real estate teams optimize their potential and foster greater collaboration. Here are a few takeaways:

Emotional intelligence. Much research points to a relationship between group performance and emotional intelligence, or the capacity to acknowledge and regulate emotions. According to journalist, author and psychologist Daniel Goleman, team managers who recognize and manage their emotions and that of others are better at resolving conflicts, building trust and maintaining positivity. 

According to Goleman, emotional intelligence has five key components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Goleman’s research suggests that team members who are more self-aware of their emotions, self-regulate their behavior and are motivated to demonstrate empathy toward their peers are more likely to meet the team’s goals and maintain a more harmonious working culture.

Diversity and inclusion. According to researcher Patricia Devine, diversity and inclusion has been linked to innovation and improved decision-making among teams. Unique ideas flourish from multicultural teams when team members from different backgrounds and experiences offer new perspectives and challenge each others’ assumptions. 

On the other hand, teams with a homogenous composition or operate under dominant, overbearing leaders may never hear diverse viewpoints from team members fearful of criticism. As author Paul Sizemore points out, collective intelligence comes not just from knowledge of team members but also from their differences. 

For diverse teams to work, team members must feel trust to collaborate effectively. Focusing on shared goals can help develop that trust and mitigate cultural disparities, says Jennifer Feitosa, PhD, assistant professor of I/O psychology at the City University of New York, Brooklyn College.

According to Feitosa, one way to avoid cultural differences becoming a barrier is by creating a hybrid culture with team norms representing a cross-section of everyone’s culture.

Team leadership styles. In real estate, leadership style can have a profound impact on the team’s culture and outcomes. While real estate team dynamics span a wide continuum with no one-size-fits-all, research by psychologist Kurt Lewin seems to support a democratic leadership style.

Lewin’s research found that children who were led by democratic leaders in a creative project tended to be the most influential at inspiring others to perform well compared to those led by an authoritarian or delegative (laissez-faire) leader.

Lewin concluded that democratic, participative leaders offer guidance to group members, but they also participate and encourage input from other team members. While the democratic leaders maintain the final say in decision-making, their team members tend to feel more engaged, motivated and creative under their leadership. The democratic group teammates are also more likely to feel like an essential part of the team, according to the research.

Team leaders can influence team morale and inspire favorable, long-term performance by providing training, the technology and tools team members need to foster a stronger working relationship, win more listings and stand out from the competition.   

Zillow Showcase, for instance, can help teams introduce more efficiency into the team’s workflow, strengthen collaboration, and win more listing appointments with a unique listing experience that’s designed to not exceed 10% of listings in a market.

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