Modern real estate leaders who take a broad brush, 'one size fits all' approach to leadership will never optimise the performance of their people and will battle to retain quality staff.
The 1970s-1980s environment, where the boss dictated the terms and everyone was expected to fit in with his or her methods and thinking, is almost totally ineffective in today’s business world, where people understand that they have their own unique suite of skills and individuality.
An effective leader today will take time to understand the particular strengths and weaknesses of each team member and adapt an approach that is going to motivate, teach, direct and bring out the best in each individual.
Whereas it may not be a problem to take a frank, to-the-point style with one staff member, another may require a softer, more guiding approach. Some people will respond well to being given step-by-step directions to get the job done, while others may even be offended and see this as condescending.
Successful real estate leaders today do not look for clones of themselves, they are happy to have a cross section of personalities in their business, understanding that their team will be better placed to deal with the myriad different human challenges that this industry throws up daily.
Of course, it’s important to like and trust your team members but it is also critical to allow them to challenge your views, to feel they can contribute to the discussion, and for their individuality to be valued and respected.
Leaders need to take time before hiring a new team member and, importantly, to follow their instincts on whether the person will “fit in”.
When I was running my agencies, I had a non-negotiable policy that every prospect had to track down every current employee, visit their home opens, phone them to catch up, etc, and to have a conversation with them as to why they wanted to join us. They were informed up front that, if any one of the current team chose against them, they would not get the job. This may sound harsh but it showed enormous respect to our current people in that they knew I valued their input and, if successful, the new person could be assured they had the 100 per cent backing of everyone from day one.
This is much healthier then the boss just making the decision, everyone else wondering who this newbie is and the new person having to spend their first week trying to establish rapport and break down barriers. Importantly, it is no coincidence that not one of the people we knocked back ever went on to achieve any significant level of success in real estate.
As leaders, we like to be appreciated for our own individual qualities, values, skills and personality, so it stands to reason that, if we are going to attract and retain great staff, we need to be mindful that they too are all different and are looking for a boss who will appreciate their differences.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Since kicking off his real estate career in 1987, Geoff Baldwin has achieved success at the highest level in sales, management, multi-office ownership and as a group CEO. He is a licensed agent, auctioneer, respected trainer and a widely published and quoted industry spokesperson. Geoff is the regional owner and managing director of RE/MAX in Western Australia, which he purchased in 2009 and currently ranks as WA’s fastest growing group.