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What does it take to lead your agency through hard times?

By Cameron Micallef
26 August 2020 | 1 minute read
LJ Hooker

Following a year Australian businesses have fought bushfires, floods and a health pandemic, offices and agents looking to survive will need clear leadership, an expert in crisis management stated.

Speaking to LJ Hooker business owners, commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who ran the Rural Fire Service in NSW through the devastating bushfire season at the start of the year, reminded them of the importance that leadership plays during uncertain events. 

To show leadership, commissioner Fitzsimmons said there are a few fundamental characteristics he aspires to be, and it starts with authenticity.

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“People need to see the real you,” he said. “You need to understand the real you, you need to accept your strengths and weaknesses, understand what they are and make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who fill the gaps.

“Leaders really need to remind themselves all the time that it’s actually not about them. It’s actually about others, it’s about their team, it’s about their organisation.”

The impacts COVID-19 has had on businesses have produced a lot of uncertainty, which is why honest communication is vital.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons linked poor behaviour in an organisation to a spare tyre, and when your team is on a bus and a tyre runs flat, you need to address the situation by either re-inflating the tyre, repairing it or replacing it to pull the team back together and get the bus rolling again.

“Whatever that intervention is, the sooner you address it, re-inflate, swap it out, repair it, whatever it is, you’ve got to do, then the whole team, the whole busload of people can actually get going on their journey,” he said.

“I just accept the fact that we can’t please all the people all the time, but what Im happy to do every time is explain why decisions are taken, why they were deemed to be the best decisions at the time. What the options were that were weighed up, and, if things go wrong, why they went wrong.”

Commissioner Fitzsimmons concluded his presentation by saying that if new information comes to hand, leaders should not be shy about changing their earlier decision.

“I dont think anyone can criticise people if they make the best decisions they can with the information and the time pressures that theyve got available,” he said.

LJ Hooker head of network development Stephen Mutton said commissioner Fitzsimmons’ advice is timely and relevant for not just real estate owners but businesses at large as they deal with the challenges that have impacted the real estate industry this year.

“COVID-19 has thrown a curve ball for the real estate industry, and it is hard to predict when we will emerge,” Mr Mutton said.

“We greatly appreciated commissioner Fitzsimmons sharing his knowledge and sharing the foundations of good business — whether you’re leading a state through a crisis or a business in a local community there’s one constant required: clear leadership.”

What does it take to lead your agency through hard times?
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