Learn this real estate leadership training technique to increase the professionalism of both Realtors and administrative staff members in your real estate organization.

Real estate leadership training should be an ongoing effort at your real estate organization. One concept that is essential to cover during this training is the concept of rights vs. responsibilities. It is all about professionalism.

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Real estate leadership training: Rights Vs. Responsibilities

I have probably had my famous “rights vs. responsibilities” talk hundreds, if not thousands, of times. As a leader, it is very important to have the “rights vs. responsibilities” conversation with your people. It should be part of your onboarding process for your staff and team members.

It is also important for you as an individual to understand the “rights vs. responsibilities” conversation. We have talked so much about the importance of getting uncomfortable, and getting out of your comfort zone. Nothing will do that for you more than this “rights vs. responsibilities”.

Getting uncomfortable is what makes people grow. Whether you need to grow yourself or the people that are with you and around you, the “rights vs. responsibilities” conversation is a big catalyst of growth. It is crucial. 

Getting uncomfortable is what makes people grow.

Brian Icenhower

The Rights Vs. Responsibilities Conversation

The way I can explain this real estate leadership training topic best is through a visual. Below, you can see a graphic that will help guide you through this conversation.

At the top, you’ll see a triangle. The top portion of the triangle represents your “rights.” Notice that people start out early in life (or early in their career, job role, etc.) with a lot of rights. They have a lot more rights than they have responsibilities.

As they continue to grow, they begin to accumulate more responsibilities. The amount of rights they have tends to shrink. It decreases. You are working to get better, and as you do so, you will automatically decrease the amount of rights you have. 

Real estate leadership training: “You can’t have both”

I’ll often say, “You can have rights or responsibilities. But you can’t necessarily have both of them.” What do I mean by that? As your rights decrease, you are making room for an increased amount of responsibilities.

real estate leadership training

Real Estate Leadership Training Example: Walmart

This is an example I like to use in my “rights vs. responsibilities” conversation. It’s a great analogy to use during real estate leadership training. Everyone has been inside a Walmart.

There are two types of people that work at Walmart. 

One of them works in the back and runs the loading dock. That person might not even wear a uniform because not many customers see them. This person probably doesn’t need to keep up their appearance because they aren’t involved in the front-facing part of the business. And, this person may even be allowed to listen to their own music as they work. This person has a number of “rights” that many other Walmart employees don’t have, yet, this person doesn’t have a ton of responsibility. 

Real estate leadership training: Less rights, more responsibility

However, inside Walmart, there’s a room with a two-way glass mirror. The person sitting in there is the General Manager of the entire store. This person has much more responsibility.

They are the top dog, and they make a lot more money than the person at the loading dock out back. This person likely has great PTO, awesome health benefits, and perhaps even stock options in Walmart. That being said, this person doesn’t have nearly as many “rights” as the person at the loading dock. This General Manager needs to wear a uniform every single day. This person needs to keep up their appearance to a high standard. 

Real Estate Leadership Training topics: What comes with success?

The General Manager has barely any “rights” compared to the loading dock employee. Why? Because the General Manager has tons of responsibilities. That is what comes with success.

This is the difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful person. 

This real estate leadership training conversation helps everyone understand the difference between the “rights” of a successful person and the “rights” of an unsuccessful person. 

Real estate leadership training: It starts at the top

It’s important to train yourself on this concept, too, if you are the leader of your team or organization. That is why it is an integral part of the mindset training we implement as a part of the real estate leadership training we provide the leaders and brokers we work with here at ICC.

As a leader, your mindset needs to be in the right place before you can begin to train your people on this concept.

Oftentimes, you don’t want to get uncomfortable and do things differently. What you do, over time, becomes who you are, and if you are comfortable with how things are right now, it makes change difficult. You may not want to sacrifice who you are and give up your “rights.”

No one can make you do this. But, you are giving up the possibility of increased responsibilities and benefits by not doing these uncomfortable things. You are giving up a certain degree of success because you want your “rights.” Discuss this over and over again during this real estate leadership training. It’s a tradeoff.


As a leader, your mindset needs to be in the right place before you can begin to train your people on this concept.

Brian Icenhower

Rights Vs. Responsibilities example: Tattoos

This is a conversation that I’ve had more times than I can count. Clients ask me about their tattoos, or they ask if I think it would be alright to get one in a place where they won’t be covering it up while meeting with a client. 

People don’t like to feel like their “rights” are taken away. But, is that neck tattoo really worth it? I guarantee, it will rub someone the wrong way during a Listing Presentation, and you’ll lose the client. What is that “right” worth to you?

Rights Vs. Responsibilities example: Social media

This is a huge point to talk about during real estate leadership training. We now live in the world of social media. Everything you do is put out into the universe, accessible by the public.

If you had an amazing trip in Vegas this past weekend, awesome! Carefully consider which photos you choose to post. I know it’s so fun, and you want all of your friends to see how much you partied, and how great you looked. Realize that you aren’t just showing this to your personal friends, but also to your potential clients and your sphere of influence (SOI). 

Be mindful on social media. Look at every post as if you were a potential client and that will help you filter out what is appropriate and what isn’t.

Real estate leadership training: Sacrifice your rights

You are not sacrificing who you are. You are sacrificing what you are putting out to the world. 

If I look through your photo history (which almost every home seller does before they hire you), what am I going to see?

Yes, you are sacrificing your “rights.” But you are doing so to grow your business, gain more “responsibilities,” and gain success.

Is that political article that you want to share worth alienating 50% of your followers and potential clients?

Success follows clues

I come back to this all the time. If success follows clues, ask yourself – what are the Top Producers doing? How do Top Producers present themselves? Do they have many “rights”? How do their social media profiles look?

Chances are, they have a professional appearance. And, their presence on social media is likely very, very vanilla. They have sacrificed some of their “rights” to gain more “responsibilities,” and success came as a result of this choice.

Be sure to add this topic to your regular real estate leadership training efforts. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Rights Vs. Responsibilities Triangle PDF

This PDF is today’s FREE download for subscribers. Download this PDF diagram of the Rights Vs. Responsibilities Triangle, print it out, and put it somewhere you can see it regularly. This will help remind you of this important real estate leadership training topic. 

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