6 Steps To Build An A-Level Team at Work


In the world of commercial real estate, the level of success for everyone involved often hinges on the strengths of the brokerage team. While I have seen this play out many times in my area of investment sales, I’ve also observed the importance of team building in other industries and segments. If the team in place lacks structure or isn’t cohesive, it can be hard to accomplish tasks and reach overall goals.

During my 25-year career in real estate, I’ve had the chance to design team dynamics and develop systems that lead to A-level performance. It takes the right vision, along with an emphasis on communication and an open culture. With a well-thought-out strategy, you can form a team that is ready to work together so everyone can win, and then set side time aside to celebrate important milestones.

Follow these steps to build an A-level team:

1. Prioritize Collaboration on Projects

In the brokerage world of commercial real estate, it can be easy to hide information from teammates if the commissions are individualized. The competition to generate more business often becomes fierce, and staff members might purposefully look to gather details that they can personally use to get ahead. Individual gains may even come at the expense of their teammates.

When I began working at Avison Young as principal and head of the Tri-State Investment Sales Group in New York City, we developed a system that encourages team members to support each other. The wins are spread out over the entire team too, so that everyone can succeed together. In this way, individuals are more likely to share ideas and information with others. They know that if their insight leads to a win, the whole team will benefit.

2. Incorporate Ongoing Communication into Workdays

At Avison Young, our team meets regularly to discuss what’s going on in the market. We listen to the expertise of staff members as they present the most recent data and reports. We encourage everyone present to talk about what they’re working on, and how we could improve. By having these check-ins, there is a chance to build trust and relationships among team members.

3. Carry Out Performance Reviews as a Group

In my line of work, we regularly conduct 360-degree feedback, which involves each team member conducting a self-assessment. Everyone receives feedback from their peers and supervisors too. This creates a holistic view of how team members are performing. It also provides the chance for individuals to become self-aware and identify blind spots. Through these reviews, team members can observe how their actions and behaviors impact those around them.

4. Connect New Workers with a Mentor

When I started my career, I was incredibly lucky to have two experienced professionals, Bob Knakal and Paul Massey, to guide me. As I sat next to them and watched them carry out the work before them, I gathered an immense amount of knowledge and insight. Being able to take on assignments under them and hear their feedback helped build skills that I still use today.

Setting up mentors in the workplace can make it easy for new team members to ask questions. The mentor and mentee might agree to meet periodically to discuss current happenings, along with ideas for future career goals. A mentor can also help a new employee to adapt to the team culture and find their role.

5. Look For Traits That Are Complementary

As you add new members, consider what strengths they will bring to the team. A team with different areas of expertise can add value to each project and goal. As a leader, you’ll be able to delegate tasks to individuals based on their niche. You can refer to members of the team who are specialists in their area. The arrangement allows for high quality, and also gives staff a chance to learn from each other.

6. Encourage Ongoing Learning

From books to podcasts, news outlets, regular conferences and more, I’m constantly on the lookout to learn more about my industry. For today’s professionals, the importance of gathering information extends into technology trends like AI and automation too. By seeing what leaders and innovators are doing, it can be easier to adapt and flexible in changing industries. When you emphasize learning as a team, you can create value as members become experts and bring new ideas to the group.

Building an A-level team takes time, and if you’re just starting out, it could begin with your first hire. Over time, as you create a culture that encourages feedback, discussion, and collaborative effort, you’ll be able to produce and achieve an exponential amount. When team members help build up others and become experts in their departments, the collective wins can be a chance for everyone to celebrate.



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