In his book, It’s Your Ship, Captain Michael Abrashoff states that in his opinion, leadership is somewhat easy. It’s mastering the art of doing simple things very well. Okay, sit with that for a moment.
Leadership is mastering that art of doing simple things well. May we add consistently and transparently? When we do so authentically, we are strengthening our position by allowing and empowering others to do their job well. Once that occurs, not only does production improve, yet so does morale and energy.
As simple is not always easy, let’s highlight what it takes to lift people and truly build them up.
Little Things Make Big Successes
Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is what the Captain practiced each day and what we encourage you to incorporate into your daily mantra. It’s the small things that have the greatest impact. Hand-written notes, a handshake, taking one moment out of your busy schedule to be wholly present for those around you. Imagine how that might significantly change and intensify each relationship that you have.
With technology pressing us to have less one-on-one time and more “instant” everything that is a text or a swipe, the art of heart to heart communication is at risk. We challenge you to do one small act of kindness each day and be aware of the difference it makes.
Trust People. They Will Usually Prove You Are Right.
Like combat, business success is often about readiness. As discussed in previous Blogs, readiness is about listening more than commanding. When you listen and trust people to do their job, their performance, ownership and overall command of your business might surprise you. Allow competent people to do their job. Encourage failing forward. Encourage going out on a limb. Trust.
Newbies are Important. Treat Them Well.
The greatest gift we can give those new to the industry is the greatest path to success. We do that by not allowing assumptions and notions to rule. We do that by providing a solid, detailed learning path to provide a solid foundation of fundamental business and sales practices. When we couple a solid learning path with accountability, we empower others to reach their goals. I am personally convinced that the reason our churn rate is so high in real estate is not the fault of the apprentice…it’s the negligence of the Broker/Brokerage. Too many talented individuals joined the right industry with the wrong company.
Be the Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats
Honestly, real estate can be a hard business. I know many (including myself) who have been battered and bruised not only by the state of the market, yet by those who surround us in what should be a non-hostile environment. There is nothing worse than being blindsided by “friendly fire” within your own office or brand. As a leader, the antidote for “friendly fire” lies in making each person you contact feel valued and appreciated. Even if you have to fake it. Do it. You just don’t know what the other individual may be going through. Your positive attitude may indeed serve as the “rising tide” to lift their spirits and your reputation of service.
Expect the Best from Your Crew. You Will Get It.
One of the principles I try to lead by is #5 of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” Encouraging people to participate at an open, meaningful level (and this includes co-workers, buyers, sellers, church members, students, family and friends) is to understand and appreciate them as individuals. Transparently.
As a Coach, nothing is more moving and inspirational than helping someone to identify and own their big “Why.” To discover not only the motivation, yet who will be and how they will be impacted by the success of the professional is no less than amazing. Dig deep. Allow others to set incredible expectations and plan to celebrate when success is achieved.
Build A Strong, Deep Bench
We must consistently work to serve the next generation. Whether it be the next generation of buyers and sellers, Realtors®, leaders or staff.
In real estate, it is wise to constantly build the team and keep your sales force strong by nurturing your next generation of stars. Train them up and hold them accountable. Instill courage and confidence. No one did this better than Dean Smith of University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (sorry, got to let a little of my light blue pride leak out) as Coach of the Tarheels.
Coach Smith was famously known for his “Blue Team,” which was his second string. He would masterfully take his entire first string off the court and reload with his bench. Sometimes it was an act of discipline (which was never pretty), yet more often, it was to simply park the first string to provide the opportunity to rest their legs, catch their breath and absorb a bit of coaching wisdom. This act of sweeping change caused amazing reactions and sent strong messages:
- To the first string, that you can be replaced in one blow of a whistle
- To the bench, that you are appreciated and competent
- To each individual on the bench, that they are potentially Carolina’s next star
- To the opponent, to be prepared for potential dominance by a well-rested first string
Now keep In mind, it was not the expectation of the Blue Team to build a huge lead, yet rather to hold the opponent at bay. To run the court and exhaust the opponent while the first string rested. Yet each player on the hallowed Blue Team understood, he was next. Their position on the team ensured them that Coach Smith had confidence and trust that they were worthy of first string action at any given moment.
Your business model should include a “Blue Team.” Leadership delays the process, but Realtors® are constantly moving. Think about that for a moment. Are you nurturing and investing in tomorrow’s leaders and building your bench?
Counsel Continuously—and Honestly.
We’ve referenced four great leaders in this Blog. Maya Angelou, Steven Covey and Dean Smith and of course, Michael Abrashoff. One common trait and characteristic of all three is their willingness and commitment to invest in others. Investment in the whole person. Listening aggressively, advising compassionately and communicating authentically with great clarity.
Build your people up. Be a resource, not a sales pitch.