Controlling Your Frustration
Today I was watching the Olympics and saw the clip of the Cuban, Angel Valodia Matos kicking a referee, out of frustration and then getting ejected from the Olympic games – for life. In the 2000 Olympics Matos was the gold medal winner. From winner to loser in one bad decision… The news broadcaster actually said “Everyone knows the first rule of taekwondo is that you don’t kick the ref in the head.”
So, what is your reaction to conflict? How do you respond to authority when you are faced with the potential for correction?
I’ve served for the past couple of years on Professional Standards work groups and recently as a staff person, I’ve been attending hearings at other boards. I’ve seen first hand how agents who can’t control themselves make bad situations worse.
It Doesn’t Matter How Good You Are
Unfortunately it’s a truth that the more business you do, the more you increase your chance for a complaint or lawsuit from a consumer, another practitioner or both. You don’t have to do something wrong, someone just needs to think you did.
I’ve seen good agents make simple mistakes, and that ommission maybe the basis to take the agent to task. The problem is that the better the agent, the more indignant they are when a complaint is filed at the Real Estate Commission, the Realtor Association or in a court. That indignation tends to make a winnable situation – un-winnable.
Remember These Simple Rules
There are a few simply things that agents who are under fire need to remember:
- First the complainant maybe wrong, but treating them with anything other than respect will simply lend credibility to how you may have treated them and led to the complaint. Keeping a professional demeanor at all times, will show your ultimate professionalism and lend itself to questioning the validity of the complainant.
- ALWAYS show respect to the panel and other professional involved. You are going to be working toward convincing attorneys, judges, professional standards panels and even the complainant that you were not possibly capable of wrong-doing.
- Document, Document, Document. The more evidence and witnesses you can bring with you, the stronger your case.
- Be very conscious of your body language. Be interested and involved in the hearing. Too many times, I’ve seen the body language of the respondent be one of disdain for the court or the review panels. That evident disdain has been the foundation for a lot of decisions against the respondent.
- Be prepared. Have your thoughts, documents and witnesses in line.
- Stick to facts and not feelings. No one cares why you did something wrong, in most cases. Explaining your feelings, leads people to think that you’re justifying actions you knew to be wrong.
- Don’t “confess” to doing something else wrong. A lot of folks are tempted to say “Well, I did so and so and the complainant didn’t even bring that up” This simply doesn’t help.
There are countless other rules and things you need to be prepared for, but these are the points I see MOST violated. I’ve sat in courtrooms, Professional Standard meetings and other review panels over various careers. There have been countless times when people could have limited their discipline or avoiding a finding of a violation, simply by behaving as a professional would.