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Completed Staff Work

At times, team members rely on the team leader more often than they should. Or, they might even use the team leader or other supervisors as a “crutch”.

When presented with a problem, team members shoulder the responsibility of digging deep, and turning over every stone necessary to find a solution BEFORE seeking additional input from the team leader.

In fact, it should ONLY be brought back to the team leader once a solution has been identified, and all that is required is approval or disapproval from the team leader.

When all facets have been analyzed and identified, the best option highlighted, and all that is required is for the team leader to put his or her name to it and take credit for the work has been completed, it may be considered “completed staff work”.

Support positions exist on the team because it is impossible for the team leader to do everything themselves. EVERY team member has tremendous value, and wildly successful teams function much more like the Knights of the Round Table than a dictatorship. That being said, all the team members must be fiercely protective of the team leader’s time.


The download for this blog is a letter from the Provost Marshal written to their team many years ago.

Tips to ensure you are delivering “Completed Staff Work “:

It is permissible and encouraged to ask your team leader how they would like something done once they say “figure it out”. Following these steps will ensure both you and your team leader will be happy with the result.

  1. At the time the project is assigned to you, ask the team leader: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
  2. Seek out every possible method of solving the problem BEFORE re-approaching the team leader.
  3. Google it!
  4. Find solutions. As more problems come up, find solutions to those as well.
  5. Ask yourself, “Is there ANY WAY I could solve this myself, without input from the team leader?” If the answer is yes, then do it!
  6. When tempted to ask your team leader questions, ask yourself, “Is it possible to wait until the next team huddle/meeting to ask this question?” There are virtually no emergencies in real estate. (If it’s an emergency, call 911!)
  7. The team leader needs ANSWERS, not questions.
  8. Your team leader understands that it may take you far longer to come up with answers yourself that she could have given you quickly and easily. That’s okay! RESIST the urge to lean on her for answers! She is swamped. Pretend she is on vacation and FIGURE. IT. OUT.
  9. Ask other team members (Not the Team Leader) for input and/or suggestions.
  10. If the team leader has to give you all the answers: The don’t need you, you aren’t learning, the team is inefficient, and success will suffer?
  11. Remember, if everyone on the team asks the team leader 3 questions a day that they could have solved some other way, the team leader would be wasting tons of time that could and should have been spent on more important activities like: Lead Generation, Lead Follow Up, and Lead Conversion.
  12. Ask your Coach!
  13. The final test to determine if you have finished “completed staff work” is: “Would (team leader name) be willing to sign their name to this and stake their professional reputation on it and its accuracy?” If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure” go back and work on it until you are confident the answer will be “YES”
  14. Present team leader with options and your top suggested solution.
  15. Don’t go into long explanations unless the team leader requests more information. Keep answers short, accurate, and relevant.

The doctrine of “Completed Staff Work” applies to every action taken within the team. For a team to operate at a “World Class” level, team members must provide completed staff work at a World Class level. Only then can the team run like a well-oiled machine!

Real World Example:

Your team leader asks you to set up a client event. At that moment, you ask:

  1. Who do you want invited?
  2. What kind of event is it?
  3. When do you want to do it?
  4. Where would you like it?


Once you have as many of the answers as your team leader is willing to give, (the answer might be “none” or “go figure it out”) get the work done!

When it is “completed staff work”, you’ll tell your team leader:

  1. I’ve prepared a client event!
  2. We’ll invite our A+, A and B clients
  3. It is a movie night, and it will cost $997.
  4. It’s on April 27th at 7 p.m.
  5. It’s at Regal Cinemas in Auburn.
  6. Our clients will love this event because it’s #3 in the wildly successful ______ series, and always has great box office success.

If the team leader wants more detail like:

a. What prizes will we give away?

b. Marketing pieces to promote event? 

c. How often and in what way will we be marketing the event?

…GIVE IT TO THEM or get the answers they desire.

Note: Administrative Team Members

As an administrative team member, your role is to SUPPORT the team, the team leader, the other agents on the team, and the clients. When you do this, you allow everyone to focus on what they do best, which enables the team as a whole to be more productive. This in turn leads to the success of the company and ultimately, job security for you.


DO EVERYTHING. Before you go to the team leader with a “completed” project, make sure you have done everything possible that the team leader doesn’t absolutely have to complete on his/her own.

Take as much off their plate as possible, as often as possible, so they can focus on lead generation, lead follow-up, lead conversion, and working ON the business rather than IN the business.

Formulate complete projects, ideas, and questions. Rather than going to the team leader with problems, go to the team leader with solutions to the problems you are having. Instead of them having to find a solution to all of these problems, you have made it easy for them to simply choose one of the solutions you have laid out.

Download the easy to use “completed staff work” checklist that you can use to ensure projects are actually complete before submitting them to your team leader.

For an added bonus, we’ve included a letter written by the United States War Department Deputy Provost Marshal, Archer C. Lerch, to his staff to explain the importance of completed staff work.

As our way of saying thank you for taking the time to read this blog, we invite you to a FREE 55-minute NO PITCH one-on-one coaching call with a Club Wealth® coach! Request Strategy Session!




  1. Tara Hellickson

    Good stuff for all those with an assistant.

    • Michael Hellickson

      Thanks Tara! How would you define “Completed Staff Work”?

  2. Shawn Mahdavi

    Great information Michael!!!!!

  3. Dave

    Amazing write up. Great info.

  4. Hannah Bailey

    Very helpful and insightful! Will use these tips. Great info.

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