Regardless if you’re all new to your role or you’ve been a broker for decades, it is important to set expectations with your agents early and often. It removes ambiguity and boosts liability.

Follow these dos and don’ts to assist you set clear expectations for your affiliates.

Do:

State (or repeat) your expectations aloud. Don’t anticipate your agents to just know what you’re thinking. Tell them: “Here’s the kind of coach/broker that I’m heading to be for you, and here’s what I expect from you.” Regardless if it’s your first day or your thousandth, do this ASAP.

Daily, remind your team of at least one of the behaviors you expect and why it is important. Be persistent and this info will keep top-of-mind.

Establish accountability quickly. When expectations have been cracked (on either side), there needs to be an immediate examination of accountability to get the relationship back on your feet. If you wait too long, you risk losing engagement, reliability, and trust. You also risk being perceived as having lowered your standards.

Maintain, maintain, maintain. Once you’ve set up the preliminary expectations, ensure to implement. It resembles car maintenance. A car will fall short if you just drive it without taking in for oil changes, new tires, and whatever else it may need.

Terminate when needed. When patterns arise and the modifications and recommitments don’t work, then you’re going to have to let some staff go. But establishing expectations and following through will lower the need. Hint: If one of your agents is surprised by being terminated, it’s your mistake. It implies you didn’t do your part by constantly keeping your expectations or by making changes and recommitments when necessary.

Don’t:

Dishonor your employee’ knowledge and past experience. Dismissing a person’s experience decreases the value of them and discredits you.

Postpone setting expectations, thinking, “I’m just going to get to know them first.” This is a huge mistake. Huge. Don’t do it. Naturally, people will push the borders to determine where you stand. If you try to tighten up after the limits have been wide, it will be a lot more difficult than it would have been to just set up the right boundaries in the first place.

Ease in. Similar to above, if you begin one way then take a different course, you’ll turn out facing an uphill battle since your team will feel like you’ve modified the rules on them.

Often, when you’re executing a new system, it could be useful to contemplate how you’ve seen such systems work or fail in other establishments. Have other organizations that you’ve dealt with set expectations up front? Did those expectations include a sense of who was responsible and for what? Was there a balance between appreciation and the hunt for accountability?

Now that you know the dos and do n’ts of setting up expectations, you’re ready to apply what you’ve learned to your office environment. This next week, pay attention to your team’s dynamic and identify if you need to set or totally reset expectation with any or every one of your agents. And don’t forget the most vital part: Support each agent accountable to the expectations you have established.