Thursday's Thoughts On Leadership: The speed of the leader determines the pace of the pack

Market uncertainty has always played a role in our industry, but perhaps never more so than today. It seems each month there are new insights on what the market will do next. Have we hit bottom? Will it be a v-shaped recovery, or a u-shaped one? What does that even mean? As Realtors, our clients expect us to guide them through this process. Should I sell now? Should a buyer wait for prices to drop a little more… but what about interest rates? Change and uncertainty are difficult to manage and leaders need to navigate carefully without freezing in their tracks for fear of being wrong. We have to be careful how we lead in uncertain times but as renowned horse trainer D. Wayne Lukas once said, “The speed of the leader determines the pace of the pack.” This does not mean you have to always be at full throttle. Being the fastest through the process is not always the answer. When I look at the most successful real estate offices I find that they are managed by good leaders that understand this. A good example is the manager/leader who goes to work everyday thinking, “what can I do to be better.” They are always looking for innovation and ways to improve their skills as leaders and managers. They understand that the process of leading is never complete. Their offices become mirror images of themselves. If the manager is motivated, the office is motivated. If the manager gets to work early each day the agents get to work early.

The legendary Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi embodied this leadership spirit. He took a rag-tag crew of players and within two years molded them into champions. This wasn’t because of wholesale changes on the team. In fact, he only changed one player on the team that won 2 games in 1959 and won the championship in 1961. He did this by starting with himself. He said that, “Only by knowing yourself can you become an effective leader.” His uncanny ability to motivate others along with an insatiable drive to win molded him, but also shaped his charges.”

Many times in my career, I have witnessed agents without any business experience join an office with a great leader and take off because they are able to mold themselves into the image of the manager/leader.  I have also witnessed the effect of bringing new leadership into an office with little life and watching it explode. Bill Walsh had the same effect on his new team as did Vince Lombardi. He immediately created an aura of winning despite a history of losing in the years before he took over. Like Lombardi, he expected success first from himself and then from his players.

You can always improve and get better, and you can do it today, regardless of the market. Great leaders know this. This allows them to navigate through change. The manager/leader that goes to work every day working to improve is ready when a challenge or change presents itself, because they are already in the mindset that you have to adapt to whatever lies in front of you. This creates a focal point in the office that the agents can emulate. They too soon learn to come in every day deciding to be better than they have ever been. When this attitude infects the entire office, suddenly, uncertainty in the market does not present such a challenge.