Team Culture

On the back of this weeks webinar on Team Culture, the press Article in AFR that outlines 30% of Property Management personnel have hung up their boots and called it quits on the back of COVID, topped with a couple of university lectures that have also touched on team culture, I thought that I would add a few words on the topic.

An article in the Harvard Business Review “High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety” (Delizonna 2017) outlines “there’s no team without trust” and the highest performing teams have one thing in common: psychological safety.

How often do you hear the statement “Property Management – I don’t know how you do it”. What is the true meaning behind this statement? A fair bit of it has to do with the mental load that Property Managers (Asset Managers as I like to call them) take on board with so many of the transactions they do daily. We all go through it:

Can’t pay the rent, have had to fix my car, my boss did not pay it, I paid it last night, I get to it next week, my partner has passed away, the owner has passed away, a family member has passed away, why isn’t it fixed yet – I called 10 mins ago, it’s your fault the tenant has not paid rent, why have you not paid me, how could you let the tenant trash my house….why did we not win at tribunal – going to tribunal, they are in jail, property has been abandoned - you are not giving me enough service …… it is relentless – I have it all, car keyed front to back due to not approving a tenant, threats of physical harm, trying to resuscitate a landlord, births, deaths and marriages – and many happy occasions too

I could go on, but I would here all day – and as everyone says – you could write a book – and it would be some entertaining reading – maybe even worthy of a Hollywood script at times. but mostly it is a thankless job at times, and no-one wants to you pay you much for doing it – even though with Australian house prices at all-time high – most of the assets we are managing of the most expensive sole asset in their portfolio. Heck, value for money – I pay 8% of the value of my car in servicing as opposed to the average 0.4% of the value of a half million-dollar asset that has a better opportunity for capital growth rather than depreciation.

It is just not the same in sales – our landlords and tenants are with us 24/7 for months and years – not after the initial transaction is complete and with 130-160 properties per manager – that is potentially 640 people that could contact you at any point in your work week.

With 30% of our fellow colleagues leaving the industry, COVID-19 has perhaps highlighted how important our Psychological Safety is and how important it is in a high performing team. In the HBR article it outlines that psychological safety allows for moderate risk taking, speaking your mind, creativity and sticking your neck out without fear of having it cut off. So, by having this within our teams, it allows us to do our difficult job with better confidence. By not having this in a team environment, the amygdala response in the brain ignites a fight or flight response, which shuts down perspective and analytical reasoning and handicaps strategic thinking. On the other hand, positive emotion allows us to solve complex problems and foster cooperative relationships.

Promoting trust, curiosity, confidence and inspiration in our teams, allows team members to become more open-minded, resilient, motivated and persistent. Humour also increases – and we all know we need a swag load of that – as does solution finding, and divergent thinking.

The HBR articles outlines how to create it:

• Approach conflicts as a collaborator, not an adversary
• Speak human to human
• Anticipate reactions and plan countermoves
• Replace Blame with curiosity
• Ask for feedback on delivery
• Measure psychological safety

As Delizonna, outlines, create a sense a psychological safety with your team and you can expect higher levels of engagement, increased motivation to tackle difficult problems, more learning and development opportunities and better performance.

Wish you all well in creating a great team culture.


This is an awesome post @louiseschofield. While I’ve never looked at it with the weave of complexity that you have, I agree that building trust, promoting transparency, and collaboration gives the team more confidence to handle the tough situations.

Awesome post! Thank you.

Thank you Louise, this resonates with our experiences, particularly through the Covid crisis. Thanks for highlighting the need for Psychologcal safety - I’ll be sure to follow up with the full article.

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