How trashing your peers can get you thrown in the can

What does ‘honouring your community’ mean for you and your fellow Realtors?

We know that it doesn’t mean bad-mouthing another Realtor because they’re your competitor, or because you dislike them personally, or because you disapprove of their professional approach. Though most members have had bad dealings with another Realtor at some point in their career in real estate, there is a difference between having private feelings and calling out another member publicly to discredit and humiliate them.

Defamatory remarks that are voiced in the presence of a person’s colleagues are hurtful to that individual and corrosive to their team. But it’s especially damaging when a Realtor bad-mouths someone in front of their clients.

As well, it gives the impression that the bad-mouther lacks self-confidence, and is so desperate to succeed; they attempt to discredit the competition in order to make themselves look good.

It also raises doubts about integrity. If a Realtor openly bad-mouths others, can they be trusted to be discreet and loyal in their dealings with their own clients?

Someone contributing to our professionalism campaign relayed a story of interviewing several Realtors about listing a property.  During the process one of the Realtors bad-mouthed another Realtor being interviewed. The result: no one looked good and the bad-mouthing Realtor was immediately eliminated as a possible listing agent. Discrediting others, even if there is some truth to the comments, reflects badly on our profession and perpetuates negative stereotypes about Realtors.

Putting a competitor down can also take a toll on one’s self-esteem, because deep down most of us recognize that it’s a cowardly way to try to get ahead. Not to mention that if you defame someone, they could sue you in civil court for harming their reputation.

The old adage that if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, say nothing at all, still holds. However, if you honestly believe that you need to warn others about another Realtor’s incompetence or lack of professionalism, there is a right way and a wrong way to handle it.

First of all, you need to recognize that no amount of bad-mouthing will change the behaviours of another Realtor, nor do anything for your own image. Secondly, there are appropriate channels to deal with a Realtor who does not adhere to the rules. The options are to:

  1. Inform your manager who can contact that individual’s manager.
  2. Contact the Board’s Business Practices staff to see if the matter merits an investigation.
  3. Report the behaviour to the Real Estate Council of BC, or if a crime is suspected, to the police, and/or to FINTRAC.

In order to honour your community of Realtors and your profession, you do have an obligation to report the bad behaviour of other Realtors, because if you don’t act, nothing will improve.

But only by practicing high professional standards yourself can you truly earn the respect and confidence of your peers and clients, and be a positive influence in your professional community.

Visit the RESPECT website for more articles and videos or to send in kudos about an awesome Realtor.