Leadership In Real Estate

July 15, 2018

By Rey Post, Associate Broker, Sotheby’s International Realty & Host of the “All Things Real Estate” Radio Show

During this Sunday’s second hour of the “All Things Real Estate” radio show, I will have the honor to interview former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, who was elected to office in 2002, serving until January 2011. Among other accomplishments, Governor Douglas served as Chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA) from 2009 to 2010.

The NGA is staging its annual 2018 Summer Meeting in Santa Fe, July 19-21. As reported by The Santa Fe New Mexican on June 13: “the conference will make Santa Fe the epicenter of American politics for a mid-July weekend, as many of the nation’s governors and perhaps some foreign leaders and White House representatives descend on the New Mexico capital for meetings, panels, parties and more.”

Given the significance of this gathering, Governor Douglas and I will discuss—since he is a former chairman of the NGA—the importance of the event coming to Santa Fe.

As a leader in government work, Governor Douglas, among other activities, is currently serving as executive in residence at Middlebury College in Vermont, as well as a member of the Governors’ Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. The Governor also served as the president of the Council of State Governments, and was also a member of Vermont House of Representatives, elected to be Vermont Secretary of State, as well as State Treasurer.

I have known Governor Douglas for many years and interacted with him when I worked for Vermont’s U.S. Congressman; Senior U.S. Senator; and another former Governor of the state.

Real estate professionals also wish to be leaders in their own work. Here are some thoughts on what you need to acquire to be an effective leader, as adopted from the article “Shape of A Leader” by Christine Hartelt from Credit Union Management and offered in an article in Realtors Magazine.

First of all, leaders are both born and made. Managers don’t become leaders overnight. Even “born” leaders don’t start out possessing all these skills. To be a strong leader, you need to:

  1. Have vision. Leaders have a clear sense of where they want to go and how they intend to get there. They see the big picture, then create a strategic plan for achieving their goals.

Learn how to develop your vision: Befriend top business leaders in your community (not necessarily just those in real estate), read new and classic business books and great leaders’ biographies, and formulate a mission statement for your company.

  1. Make decisions. Leaders aren’t afraid to make difficult or unpopular decisions because they have confidence in themselves and in their abilities. They know that indecision wastes resources and opportunities.

Learn to hone your decision-making skills: Practice making decisions in areas where failure isn’t critical to increase your confidence. If a decision turns out to be wrong, learn from it and move on.

  1. Take risks. Leaders have the courage to act in situations where results aren’t assured. They’re willing to risk failure.

Learn how to take risks: Analyze the situation, listing pros and cons for each option, then assign each choice a risk factor rating from 1 to 5. Next determine the likelihood that each outcome will occur. This will help you determine how much risk you want to take.

TIP: Don’t expect perfection. No one wins all the time. Leaders grow by making mistakes.

  1. Motivate others. Leaders can articulate their vision and ideals to others, convincing them of the value of their ideas. They can inspire people to work toward common goals and to achieve things they never thought they could do.

Learn how to motivate people: Explore the different needs that motivate people and recognize that the same rewards don’t motivate everyone. Listen carefully to others to learn what motivates them.

TIP: Motivate employees by making sure they understand how their work contributes to a larger goal.

  1. Build teams. Leaders create productive teams that draw the best from people. They effectively coach teams in collaboration, consensus building, and conflict resolution.

Learn how to improve your teambuilding skills: Avoid preconceived answers to every question. Concentrate on appreciating different points of view during discussions rather than just trying to prove your point. This same willingness to include others is the key to successful teambuilding.

  1. Possess self-knowledge. Leaders know their own strengths and weaknesses and are able to view their behavior objectively. They recognize their shortcomings, open themselves to feedback, and are willing to make changes when necessary.

Learn how to expand your self-knowledge: Study yourself closely and practice self-assessment techniques to learn how you behave and the effects you have on others. Ask others for their opinions or criticisms and what you can do to become a better leader.

TIP: Keep a journal of critical incidents; look back and learn what you did well and what you might have done better.

  1. Display integrity. Leaders must be trustworthy before others will follow them. Warren Bennis, The Leadership Institute, University of Southern California, says qualities that establish trust are competence, constancy, caring, candor, and congruity, which he defines as authenticity, reliability, and feeling comfortable with oneself.

Learn how to assess your integrity: Actively seek feedback from others friends, co-workers, and even employees to determine if your values and sense of responsibility coincide with those of your peer group.

  1. Pursue lifelong learning. Leaders have a desire to continually learn and grow and are open to new ideas.

Learn how to expand your knowledge: Maintain a broad focus. Look beyond your colleagues and your own industry for ideas and inspiration and read books on new management theories and ideas.

TIP: Wise managers look for support staff or partners who complement their weaknesses.

  1. Communicate effectively. Leaders can convey their ideas to diverse individuals and adjust their styles to meet the needs of the people they lead.

Learn how to improve communication skills: Practice communications skills such as active listening. Read between the lines during conversations, especially when dealing with subordinates who may be reluctant to say what they think. Restate important points in several ways or ask listeners to reiterate your point to you to ensure that your meaning is clear.

  1. Help others succeed. Leaders empower others and go out of their way to help them achieve their full potential, thereby benefiting the organization.

Give a boost to others: Mentor individuals you feel are able to assume leadership roles.

So “Rey’s Real Estate Recommendation” for this week, is to consider applying some of these attributes to the development of your own leadership skills. Many of us start out with a base of leadership qualities that can be matured and ultimately will aid you in becoming a better real estate professional for your buyer and seller clients.


For more information, always check out our blog at ATREradio.com/blog and also join us for the “All Things Real Estate” radio show, which airs each Sunday 12-2pm (Mountain Time) and can be heard at the “Listen Now” link at ATREradio.com.