According to a new study from McMaster University and the University of Toronto, it’s because agents feel they’re more likely to be recognized for their individual achievements rather than overall team accomplishments. This leaves sales reps reluctant to share new marketing tactics and sales pitches for fear that their contribution won’t be acknowledged.
The phenomenon, labelled by researchers as “knowledge-hiding”, is extremely common in the corporate world and takes various different forms in the workplace – some of which are significantly more harmful than others.
On the least-damaging end of the spectrum, workers admitted to concealing information they deemed confidential – fair enough – but, further along the spectrum, researchers found that some employees would withhold information by “playing dumb.”
In other words, employees gave co-workers incorrect or incomplete information or promised to provide information later but failed to follow through. Of course, this mindset can be incredibly harmful to real estate teams.
Sharing ideas and information speeds up every process within a team or brokerage but when agents are disinclined to dole out help, it only slows the whole system down.
So, what can team leaders who want to discourage such damaging and deceitful behaviour do?
Most importantly, you need to reconsider you rewards and recognition systems – put incentives in place that will reward team outcomes rather than individual performance. By doing this, you’re much more likely to nurture a collaborative working environment where agents are happy to share important information and innovative ideas.
Real estate agents are increasingly finding strength in numbers, opting to join teams or start one of their own, but many sales reps are resisting the collaborative environment.