I was sitting in my office recently when I saw one of my assistants taking a call. Just from watching her and hearing her a little, I could tell it wasn’t going well. She was trying to be courteous and professional, but she was getting flustered.
I asked her to transfer the call over to me. It was a real estate agent who wasn’t happy with an appraisals I’d done (what else is new?). In this case I’d come in at a hefty $10-15,000 under the purchase price on a $150-200,000 home.
The real estate agent was extremely heated in the beginning. By the end of the conversation – which couldn’t have lasted much longer than five minutes – she was laughing and everything was forgiven. I don’t claim to be one of the great charismatics of our time; I simply tried to see things from her perspective, and treated her in a kind, respectful way.
Why do I bring this up? Well, I went to go and see the recent Cinderella remake on two separate occasions at the cinema. Bear with me; I promise this will be tied back to real estate appraisal soon enough! Anyone who’s seen it will know that there’s a common theme running throughout the picture: “have courage and be kind.”
After seeing the movie, I just couldn’t get that phrase out of my head. ‘Have courage and be kind.’ It made me think about my behavior in my personal life – with my friends and family – but also in my professional life as a real estate appraiser. I started trying to modify my behavior around this phrase, and tried to stress the importance of it to my employees too.
In the real estate appraisal business, you get situations like the one with the real estate agent all the time. You can feel tempted, as a human being, to respond emotionally and just say, “Screw you!”
This doesn’t really achieve anything though (even though, I admit, it can feel really good). People are just people: sometimes they do or say bad things without meaning to (and sometimes the do mean to). It doesn’t mean that they’re not nice, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you have to be nasty in response. That’s the ‘be kind’ part of the phrase.
Just because you’re being kind to people, however, doesn’t mean you need to be sheepish. You don’t need to let people walk all over you. If you’re sure that you’ve done a good, honest job on a real estate appraisal, stand up for yourself! That’s where the ‘have courage’ part comes in.
We work in a field in which we have a lot of pressure, and we’re easy targets for criticism, but that doesn’t mean we should take an aggressive or defensive attitude in our interactions with people. Think about the phrase ‘have courage and be kind.’ Keep it turning over in your head. It may come from a fairy tale, but I believe it’s extremely applicable to the work we do. It can make us better real estate appraisers and – heck, I’ll say it! – better people too.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 025 – Have Courage and Be Kind