MMP 111 | Managing Difficult People


Pat interviews Bill Bent, the EVP of Retail Production at Loan Simple.

Highlights include:

  • People and their patterns;
  • Loan officers’ uniqueness;
  • Managing prima donnas; and
  • Removing a personal glass ceiling.

Managing Difficult People With Bill Bent

Our topic is such an important topic, managing difficult people. My expert is a rock star in the mortgage banking business. Bill Bent is joining us to share his wisdom. Bill is the Executive Vice President of Loan Simple’s retail production. Prior to that, he was with Academy Mortgage and Waterfield Financial. He also has his own coaching business called AWAKE Coaching. This is a hot topic and a very difficult topic for individuals about managing difficult people. Before we jump into that, let’s talk about how did you get into managing.

When we make our decisions from a career perspective, a lot of it depends on our age and how we view issues in life. When I was younger, I was a recent college grad. At first, I started in AT&T and I was in a management fast-track program. I learned quickly that a large corporate environment wasn’t of my interest. It seemed too political and too internal focused, and advancements coming mainly from what camp you are a part of, leadership camp.

When I shifted and said I wanted to be more entrepreneurial, I also had that money focus in that time in my life. I wanted more money. I wanted nicer material items. I said to myself, “Now that I have learned the mortgage industry, I will jump into that. I will get three years of sales experience and then I will get three years of sales management experience, and then I will run off and do my own company because then I will have abundance of money and nice stuff.” Through that process, that’s how I got into management. It’s funny because now if I would look at it, it’s so different but it was a good trail.

That’s an interesting comment about it and probably pretty true for a lot of people. When you look back at all these years and you’ve managed for a long time, what was the best advice you ever heard on the topic?

The best advice was as I continued to learn management tied in with leadership, I developed the understanding of the human mind, how people think and their thought patterns and then in turn how their behavior is so correlated to their thought patterns, and so much of this is based upon ego and viewing the lens of life through ego. It put me into a better position in helping people optimize their performance but optimize it so that they felt significant in that and they felt purposeful. A secret sauce was that they developed a clear life purpose for themselves and applied their skill sets in a purposeful way.

Developing your understanding of the human mind, how people think, and how their behavior is correlated to their thought patterns puts you in a better position to help them optimize their performance so that they feel significant and apply their… Click To Tweet

Were there any books that were important to you? I know you’ve written your own. Talk about that for a little bit.

I have read many leadership books. If I had to single one out, it’s not a pure leadership book though. It was a book on the principle of consciousness and the book was Power vs. Force by Dr. David Hawkins. He illustrated top leaders and professionals from the view of consciousness, and that was my biggest surprise reading because it shifted how I applied leadership both professionally, but also, how I help the company become better at synthesizing or connecting as one purely from this one book.

That’s terrific. I have to read that book. Why don’t you talk about the practice that you keep coming back to? You’ve been at entrepreneurial firms. You’ve also been at certainly more mature firms. Talk about that practice you use over and over again.

As I decided to reengage on a full-time basis in the mortgage industry in a leadership role, I looked at myself from a skillset perspective. What aspects of skill do I enjoy and I’m good at? I have always had a very good background in being very analytical and a good logical skillset. Also, I have developed high EQ and how to help people from a motivational and desire to apply the best of their sales skills and influence skills.

I felt that it was part of what I should do, my calling on applying that analytical logic, along with helping the sales optimize their abilities into things. It’s fun to be back full-time in the business, but with everything in life, every one of us always had various things to work through and my journey was interesting to get to this point. Nothing but a great position to be in the point that I’m helping the people I am.

Let’s talk about managing difficult people. Give your view on it and talk about how you handled it because in any company, but also in mortgage banking, there is this issue of maybe top producers being prima donnas and all of those types of stereotypes that you do hear about them. How do you address that?

Always focusing first on foundational issues is a good place to start. Always revisiting what is my or any other leader’s definition of a difficult person and then start to understand why are they that way. Why do they take on issues and problems from the perspective that they do? What’s the drive that makes them different? In turn, what’s the drive that causes that attitude issue when it shows up?

Through my own leadership development process, I learned that people are patterns. When I say patterns, there’s an element of our DNA from our generational patterns, but also how we are brought up in our upbringing. The parenting style that we are brought up with, but also our family dynamics, including our birth orders and then also our life experiences. We interpret these things and we create our own patterns.

MMP 111 | Managing Difficult People

Managing Difficult People: People are patterns. There’s an element of our DNA from our generational patterns and how we’re brought up, our family dynamics, and our life experiences.

When I say our own patterns, I’m talking about our identity and whom we see ourselves as. I’m talking about our strengths and weaknesses or how we go about doing things, and then also I’m talking about the actual application of what we are doing. It’s that who, how, and what of that pattern, and we create our own glass ceiling of where we are going to go and what our opportunities going to look like.

If you introduce those more challenging and difficult people into that concept and provide the opportunity to say, “Do you desire to alter your patterns?” You can then get them into rewiring their brain or mindset, altering their thought patterns. The core of this gets down to judgment, but everything that we point a finger at and say, “This person has this or that,” what we are talking about is our internal, our intrinsic. In turn, we apply it extrinsically.

The root of it is self-judgment, but then we judge others. In turn, it’s high ego-based. Through this process, you can help people more frequently get into the flow state and at the flow state, they are going to be at their highest level. They are going to do some amazing things, but it’s a process. People aren’t born into it and they have to be willing to work on it and break their patterns.

If you are not going to have that dynamic in dealing with very difficult people, there comes a time to gracefully show them the exit door because they can be disruptive to continuing to nurture and develop the team. When it all gets said and done, we are all one that disruptive and difficult person is creating patterns among the whole team, and it’s having an influence on issues. If we are not able to get it to break patterns and optimize, there comes that day when moving on is in everyone’s best interest.

That’s a great point and we’ll talk about that a little bit later. I’m interested in when you talked about everyone having a personal glass ceiling, that’s such a terrific comment, but talk a little bit more about that because it’s so true.

It gets back into the patterns, and so I’m going to go into a few deeper things then with this. First when I talk about this is going to be lower energy or lower consciousness. Many people operate and communicate based on their own internal fear. They may also base upon emotions of hurt or need. They apply things from that need perspective.

So many people operate and communicate based on their own internal fear, emotions of hurt, or a need. Click To Tweet

If you can help somebody understand that better, and even on fear, a great way to explain fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. If you can get people to buy into these different concepts, you will get them to want to connect better to the company’s team, to their partners out in the marketplace, and to borrowers. There are some basic communication things that you can help a person embrace and one is going to be listening skills.

From a listening perspective, there are three levels of listening. One is very subjective and you are hearing and applying what you are hearing to your own life. The other is objective where you are listening well and you are hearing about what they are saying and applying it more from their life perspective, but the best listening is intuitive listening.

The simple way to do intuitive listening is this. What are the words or what are thoughts that aren’t being shared that are deep within that individual or the team that you are talking with? Those are within the tea leaves, and if you can figure out what those are, what you can then do is acknowledge and validate what you hear but then ask an open-ended empowering question. That question can be more triggered around that intuitive listening and what core things are blocking them from moving forward or getting in a better position.

As you train people on that, it’s very powerful and it allows people to see things from outside of the little vision dimensions that they will create out of their own thought patterns. These things aren’t light switches. They won’t turn off and on and it’s very developmental with people and it all starts in with buy-in. Once you buy in and you have a belief about something, you are well on your way to changing.

MMP 111 | Managing Difficult People

Managing Difficult People: It all starts with the buy-in because once you buy in and you have a belief about something, you’re well on your way to changing.

When you look at it for the managers that say, “That’s not my job. This sounds like a lot of work,” and so on and so forth. What’s your answer to that?

It all starts with what are the questions to ask. When somebody talks about it’s not my job or this or that, I would start with acknowledging and validating. “I heard you say this is not your job, is that correct?” You say, “Sure.” Once you do that, you are getting them a one step towards your way as you are taking one step their way.

In turn, you mention, “Tell me why you don’t see that as your job. Are there any emotions that you feel triggered when you state that and why?” Be quiet, and then let them reflect on it. You are asking them to say, “I hear what you are saying. Now let’s go deeper.” You are allowing them to self-coach themselves all through questioning.

Let’s say when you are interviewing managers now to come into your sales team, how do you identify where these issues are? This leads to this issue. Do you set a process for how you want managing difficult people to look or is it left up to the individual managers?

There are tools that allow you to identify characteristics and traits and skillsets that are best for whatever role you are going to bring a person on board. The management role gets much more complex than the sales role. I’m going to do a little promotion for you. You did an amazing job on your manager assessment, both from a selection standpoint and from a development perspective.

I have used it with many top loan officers that had that desire to go into management, and every single one has said, “The results of this assessment nail me exactly, and now I understand what I need to work on to be that optimal manager.” Once again, you have that desire and you have some tools to help in that process. You are well on your way from that standpoint, but also it makes it clear to help people to understand that sometimes that leadership role advancement isn’t best for them.

It won’t allow them to optimize their talents and skill sets because they are not developed to be in that role. Sometimes that can be a little bit of an ego blow for people, but when you have a good process like that on a whole, most people are going to respect it and do well with it. In turn, the scalability, as you mentioned, how to do this in a company that has twenty managers is pretty easy. If you want to have a company with 200 or 300 sales managers or whatever number, you have to build a scalable model.

There are things I’m doing at Loan Simple right now that I don’t need to candidly for the size we are, but I’m putting them in place as models that allow the company down the road if it occurs to scale and not just rely on individuals one off to learn these management tools and skills on their own, but truly have a scalable platform that builds tools and approaches that are out there for all.

What does that look like when you are putting those types of things in place? What would you suggest the listeners should think about as far as the process is concerned?

An example is something I launched. It’s a simple monthly report on efficiency metrics, also on profitability and margins. That is putting together a set of monthly reports that I have an admin person doing, but where I’m going to go with it is to get it all automated within a reporting system so that way, it’s done without admin support and helps. Also, it can be real-time versus what we are doing.

In this model, if I had 200 managers now working here, I do have the administrative support to continue doing it the way I’m doing, but it creates more of a plug-and-play to use in coaching, mentoring, and managing people. That’s one example. Do I need to do that right now for the size we are? I don’t, but I see the advantage of creating a system and then that system can help the masses as we grow in their leadership and management skills within the company.

That is a lot and terrific comments. We are down to the last few minutes and I wonder if you could maybe summarize for our readers what would your takeaways be for now.

My takeaway, for now, is to realize we are all unique. We all have our own internal or intrinsic, and recognizing how we view issues isn’t always the same as people. As you deepen your understanding of your own thought patterns, you can then, in turn, influence and help other people. The one secret sauce I didn’t mention during this is helping people build and develop, but also for yourself, high gratitude. If you see things from a high gratitude perspective, you are going to be less into negative energy and less combative. That simple tool by itself is going to elevate your ability to see issues that you don’t see right now. That secret is also gratitude.

As you deepen your understanding of your own thought patterns, you can then, in turn, influence and help other people. Click To Tweet

Last piece is to try to systematize and try to automate anything and everything, but the secret sauce of the production and mortgage industry certainly is people, and we can’t automate people. We can automate systems to support people, but we don’t automate people and so by learning your own intrinsic and people and applying that, you’ll have a brilliant and beautiful future.



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About Bill Bent

Thanks for stopping by! I am the founder of AWAKE coaching, specializing in inspirational speaking, executive and performance coaching. I have helped many learn the great benefits in developing Awareness, Wisdom And Knowledge of Energy. With this knowledge, your performance increases while stress decreases. Your whole world opens up in a powerful and special way.

I have helped organizations and their leadership understand how to embrace change from the inside out, transforming their corporations by focusing on organizational effectiveness, improvement and development. I spend most of my time focusing my talents on Haven Senior Investments.

My purpose and desire is to cultivate the brilliance in others as they find their purpose. Finding beauty, opportunity and growth within inevitable shifts in life and business is what I do best. Making me a sought after inspirational speaker.

As an accomplished veteran in the mortgage industry, I’ve taken what I’ve learned and achieved to guide executives and teams to reach their full potential. I was honored to grow Academy Mortgage Corporation from being a regionally-based mortgage company to one of the nation’s largest.

In my free time I enjoy running, skiing, golfing and spending time with my wife and children in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.,