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When we invited Gary Vaynerchuk to NAHREP at L’ATTITUDE in 2021, I was mostly relying on input from others. Several members loved his content, but the little I saw online left me underwhelmed. However, I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation at our event, particularly his comments about toxic employees, which he says to dump with impunity. On the surface, his comments seem obvious, but to an audience of real estate professionals, it was somewhat controversial. Vaynerchuk specifically referenced how real estate brokers worship top producers and avoid terminating productive agents regardless of whether they also happen to be jerks. He said whatever toxic agents produce in revenue is more than offset by the damage they do to the morale of your company and the productivity of their coworkers. They pull themselves up by bringing other people down. One of the falsehoods that some people in the real estate industry subscribe to, is the notion that top producers are eccentric. Being a jerk comes with the territory and is indicative of a hard-driving personality. This is not a concept that Vaynerchuk supports and neither do I.
I have always believed that you attract what you project. If your company tolerates or makes excuses for people who bring negativity to your office, you will attract more people like that and you will repel good people. Conversely, if you employ respectful people with character and strong work ethics, you will attract more people like those. This is easier said than done. I remember 10 years ago we were modifying the structure of our chapters at NAHREP, converting them from independent entities to branches of the home office. The idea did not have universal support, and some on our national board feared a mass exodus of our membership. I remember saying that I didn’t care if we go from 10,000 members down to 500 members; if it’s the right 500 people, we can conquer the world. It ended up being the right choice for us and I learned something in the process. Surround yourself with people who share your values. No amount of productivity is worth the toxicity that some people bring. Hire slow and fire fast. Take your time adding new people to your team. Do the appropriate due diligence and trust your gut, and if you do make a mistake on someone who brings negativity to your office and doesn’t share your values – get rid of them as quickly as possible! Every employee doubles as an ambassador to your company. People will judge you by the people who work with you. You have to think of the people in your office as your second family. You don’t get to choose your real family but you get to choose the people with whom you work.