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Professionalism: Feeling nasty? Better think twice.

by Paul Cowhig, Professional Standards Advisor

One of the hallmarks of professionalism is polite behavior. You are accountable for what you say and how you say it, whether face-to-face, on the phone or through social media. Remember that your conduct directly impacts your professional reputation, good or bad.

Bullying of any type is simply unacceptable. And, just because there might be a screen and a keyboard between you and your target, doesn’t make it okay to express your opinion in a negative and offensive way. Bullying should not be tolerated by you, or your Board.

I want to address two specific concerns.

The first is with regard to Fraser Valley members and Board staff. We understand that sometimes things go a bit sideways. Touchbase goes down due to a cyber attack, CREA WEBForms® refuses to cooperate, Paragon is temporarily lost in space, your lock box won’t talk to you. There are all kinds of ways that technology in particular can make one day seem like a week of Mondays.

Sometimes things happen that are out of both the Board’s control, and yours. Keep in mind that the Board is also a customer of third-party vendors which may also be having a trying day restoring service to the FVREB, and many other customers. We do not function in a vacuum.

So, when you feel like you want to explode in frustration, please remind yourself that Board staff is not deliberately doing things to louse up your day. Avoid the temptation to vent your frustration on to them. Instead, take a deep breath. Be respectful. Our staff take great pride and care in providing you with the best possible service they can. We’re in this together.

The second point I want to make is more general.

Bullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, offensive, harmful, or false content about someone, or sharing personal or private information about a person in a way that causes embarrassment and humiliation.

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are some of the common social media sites where cyberbullying occurs and it can harm the reputations of everyone involved – not just the person being bullied, but those doing the bullying or participating in it.

What you post online is not private. It can be shared to other people and platforms, and is difficult if not impossible to erase.  With each post and comment, you are creating a permanent public record of your views, activities, and behavior. Once online, always online.

The CREA Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice apply 24/7. You are never NOT a REALTOR®.

Social media is where a professional shares information, insight and knowledge. It is not a place to vent emotions. If you are upset about something, tell it to your partner, your colleagues, or your dog.

If you are unsure if the content you want to post is appropriate, first ask someone whose opinion you trust.  If it has anything to do with real estate or a fellow REALTOR®, consult your managing broker.

We spend a lot of time talking about professionalism. How we conduct ourselves, in private and in public, can either demonstrate that professionalism or demonstrate the lack of it, especially in the ways we talk to and about each other.

So be nice. It’s cold out there.