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Lessons in leadership from the Premier

03 May 2021 Grace Ormsby
Lessons in leadership from the Premier

A real estate agency director has shared his encounter with the New South Wales Premier, and how her decision-making during the pandemic shaped his own agency’s business response.

In a recent episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents, Matthew Everingham, a director and sales agent with Richard Matthews Real Estate, spilled the beans on a recent encounter with the New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and how her leadership was a guiding light for his own business through the worst of the pandemic in 2020. 

“Her leadership through that time for real estate, particularly, has been exceptional,” he began.

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“We were lucky. You look at other states which were locked down and unable to do business, and she, through her leadership, really allowed business in New South Wales to go forward.”

From Mr Everingham’s perspective, it was the Premier’s communication that resonated with him the most.

“She was out there communicating with everyone really well. Giving real direction and certainty to people through that time was important,” he said.

Reflecting on that certainty, he believes it was created “by going out there in front of the media and giving good direction — and a positive message”.

“And I think she delivered that message right through COVID.”

He added that “people needed hope and positivity through that time, and I think what we learnt as a business was via some of the communication that we saw through her”.

Seeing the Premier’s response set the tone for the director’s dealings with his own team.

“We sat down when COVID first struck and we said, ‘Look, guys, we’re not going to be panicking here and putting people off.’ And I know a lot of businesses had to do that and were in that position, but we said, ‘We’ve got your back, you have ours, and well work through this together.’”

As well as learning from watching her in the media, Mr Everingham and his team actually had the opportunity to sit down with the state leader earlier this year — when she cut the ribbon at their new office opening

“Having the Premier come out to Strathfield to open your office, do a tour, chat to your team, and really genuinely commend us on our growth and our leadership, was very nice,” he stated.

Calling it a business highlight, he acknowledged how it’s “not often you get the Premier show up at a real estate office!”

“We talked to her about our business, and learnt a little bit from her about leadership and how shes survived the last 12 months,” the director said.

“And I think it really is a good lesson for everybody to see how shes shown that positivity, [and is] giving a great message out there, and it was good to be able to sit down and talk with her about that.

“For her, I think it was about local small businesses who, in the past 12 months through COVID, were able to grow and expand.”

Calling it “an honour” to have her attend the event, he considered the visit as “great for our team, [a] great reward for them to be able to meet and get some photos with her and chat with her”.

“She really is just a lovely person. Shes very personable. Shes a very normal individual whos obviously just successful in what she does,” he reflected.

The opening of the new office earlier this year was needed, Mr Everingham conceded, when the team “ran out of space in our office, to be frank”.

Even with COVID-19 beginning to affect Australian businesses just over 12 months ago now, the Richard Matthews team has seen its team double in size since the beginning of 2020.  

The business was “always wanting to grow”, but the director noted the pandemic as accelerating what they were doing.

From his perspective, “it really brought us back to that whole team mentality and having great people within our business”.

“So while we were growing, I think it allowed us to reinvigorate some of the things we were doing and allowed us to re-centre where we were going,” he said.

“And yeah, it probably forced us to change some of the processes and old habits that you have, that you don’t really look at when you don’t have to.

“Everyone just really knuckled down and worked hard. We really just pushed through because we didn’t know what was coming, and I think it allowed us to really focus on the clients and what we had to do to service them and make sure that we were there to help.”

Now, with business booming, growth is still very much on the radar of Mr Everingham and his business partner, Richard Baini.

“We want, by 2022, to have this office completely full,” he shared.

“A lot more staff, a lot more team members; not just directly for Richard and I, but our actual teammates growing their teams is a huge driver for us now, and that’s actively happening.

“I can’t tell you how great it is to watch their teams grow, because the success is hand in hand.

“While they’re succeeding, so are we, and that’s very rewarding.”

Listen to more insights from Mr Everingham’s episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents here.

Lessons in leadership from the Premier
Gladys Berejiklian reb
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