When it comes to leadership in real estate, there are plenty of lessons to be learned. From brokers to coaches to CEOs, anyone in a leadership role can benefit from more information, education and understanding when it comes to their responsibilities and how to provide top service to their clients and unwavering support to their teams.
In the latest RISMedia webinar—"Lessons in Leadership With Dermot Buffini"—panelists Dermot Buffini, CEO of Buffini & Company and Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage & Bridgemarq Real Estate Services, discussed the tools and strategies needed to be a successful leader in the real estate industry.
The webinar was sponsored by Buffini & Company and moderated by RISMedia Founder and CEO John Featherston.
“There are no secrets to leadership, but there are lessons,” said Buffini. “I believe being a great leader is like being a great parent—everyone can be one, it’s just a matter of what example do you have to work off? What’s the model that you learned—the good, the bad and the indifferent.”
Whether you are running an organization, a region, an office or a team, self leadership is most important. Growth in leadership begins with growth in habits and discipline.
And though it may seem like the wild west of real estate, the lessons discussed here can help you become a successful leader.
“Leadership is something we all have to aspire to, whether it’s with our family, with our business or with our practice. This is not just for generals and presidents, it’s something we all need to dip into,” Soper said, as he dove into some of the most important qualities that leaders of all kinds should hold.
As Soper explained these qualities, he referenced back to specific movies that best represent these qualities, from 12 Angry Men to Gandhi, including:
- Empathy, or seeing things through a different perspective
- Courage against all odds
- Taking the necessary time to make good decisions
- Optimism, or viewing obstacles as opportunities
- The importance of planning, being able to throw away the plan when it encounters obstacles and re-planning
- The ability to make tough decisions
- The power of diversity
- A clear vision and good communication
“People know where they are going in our organization and they understand their role in getting there, even if they are in communications or marketing and not directly involved in development,” said Soper, when explaining the importance of a clear vision and communication in leadership.
When determining your own leadership style, it is important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
“There are certain aspects of leadership that are consistent and needed across the entire spectrum,” said Soper. “You have to be confident in just about everything.”
He went on to explain that while there are some things you can hire for, you still need to have an understanding of numbers to run a real estate business. And though you don’t need to be an expert, confidence is key.
When it comes to retention, especially for leaders, if you don’t do a great job, if you don’t deliver the goods to your team, such as getting them paid on time, and if you don’t not make mistakes in servicing their clients, they have a right to leave. Developing trust and good relationships are important, but they can’t get the job done alone.
“Rules without relationship equals rebellion,” said Buffini. “If you build rapport and relationships, you’ll have revenue. Participation is a critical piece of leadership.”
Since participation is so important for leaders, it is vital to prioritize where you spend your time and who you spend it with.
“It is critical that you don’t just do the things you like to do,” said Soper. “People in this industry, by nature, are strugglers. It’s important to focus your time on opportunities that are real, not just the ones that are easy.”
Though taking the time to do the things that need to be done is critical, especially in a leadership role, it is just as important to do the things that you want to do, whether it be a vacation or activities that can help to sharpen your mind and skills.
As the real estate industry changes and grows, so does the leadership. When it comes to the future of real estate, leaders need to understand these changes and either combat or accept them.
“A rising tide raises all ships,” said Soper. “When things are good, everybody gets a bit of that good. We’re in a rising tide industry and if you look at the next 10-15 years in North America, household formation is going to drive more and more need for roofs over people’s heads. It’s great to be in an industry that is structurally strong and growing.”
“When you're in the advice and counsel business, technology is going to make us superhuman,” he continued. “It's going to make us be able to do more than we ever dreamed possible, faster with less mistakes. But, advice and counsel from human beings will remain the gold standard for purchasing the largest asset in a family’s life.”
“We’re in a time where we are drowning in information and starving for truth,” said Buffini. “If you are a trusted source, which you must be now, you’ll never have a worry in any business, especially real estate.”
For teams, there is a lot involved in leadership roles. From the growing pains of starting a team, the sequence for hiring into your team, recruiting and retention, and maintaining and training your team members, it is important to have the right tools and skills to lead these people.
“One of the things that has given me my greatest joy is to see people develop and succeed,” said Soper. “Just the quality of work-life can be more fulfilling as a leader.”
Having the ability to provide personal mentorship can be challenging, but in a team environment, it can create a business family that you can lean on.
Leaders in today’s world have to recognize the changes they are facing, such as remote work and a virtual environment. In real estate, especially, this has made a large impact. Being able to navigate this new normal and how it will impact the future of your business is essential.
“I believe the vitality of our cities and the ability to bring people together to get work done is going to make winners in the future, and those who walk away from it will find themselves slipping behind,” said Soper. Productivity is fine—we’ve been getting a lot of work done—but creativity has suffered.
“Real estate professionals should be doing virtual showings now and in the future because it's a great way to get through a lot of properties. Virtual open houses should be part of your portfolio. I believe we’ll be able to settle into a normal that will allow us to mitigate the need to travel, more efficiently make use of our days and make our lives more enjoyable.”
Buffini also believes that technology and a more virtual space in real estate will help leaders and teams in the future, but if you are an all or nothing type, you will be in trouble.
“Community happens when there is connection and proximity,” he said. “People have been locked up and locked away, and they are desirous of it, but there’s something magical when you get people together.”
“For attraction and retention, we’re going to have to listen to the skills, the people that we need and adapt as businesses,” said Soper.
Watch the full webinar below:
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