Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes, but if there's anything the past few years have taught us, it's that having a fearless leader at the helm of your real estate organization is more important than ever before.
During RISMedia's recent webinar—"Lessons in Leadership With Dermot Buffini"—the Buffini & Company CEO sat down with President and CEO of CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, Jim Fite, for a candid conversation about what it takes to be a leader in today's environment.
The webinar was sponsored by Buffini & Company and moderated by RISMedia Founder, President and CEO John Featherston.
Buffini kicked off the conversation by asking Fite who he admires and who he's learned from throughout the years—setting the stage for an inspired discussion.
"I try to learn from everybody, because you can learn the good and the bad from people that you watch and read about," explained Fite, who pointed to Ronald Reagan as one of the men he admires most.
"Not only was he a master communicator, but he was also very decisive, and he used his power in a humble way," said Fite.
It's these same attributes that support CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company's mission and core values today.
Drilling down further, Fite pointed to a challenge his father presented him with when he was just 18 years old, which helped him build a solid foundation upon which to grow:
- Ready, study and think an hour a day, five days a week, for the rest of your life.
- Sit in a classroom 12 days a year as a student, and never stop learning.
"We're in a world where people are thinking for us, and they're trying to tell us how to think," added Buffini. "As a leader, if you're not thinking, and you're just doing, you're going to end up in trouble."
Essential routines aside, Fite also underscored the importance of honing in on key attributes that can't be overlooked in today's leaders.
"Leaders have to live up to your mission," noted Fite, who is 100% committed to interviewing, hiring, coaching, recognizing, disciplining and terminating to the firm's core values, which permeate through the entire organization. "Someone in leadership must be on your team," he added. "They have to understand who you are."
And while success isn’t achieved by accident, investing in both yourself and your organization is critical to longevity.
"Invest in the things you value and the outcomes you want to achieve," said Buffini.
Opening the floor up to questions, Featherston asked Buffini and Fite to share their tried-and-true strategies for keeping morale up and leading in the difficult market we're currently experiencing.
"The reality is, you need to stay in front of your people and give them the things they need to be productive in this market," shared Fite.
"As a leader, you cannot possibly raise someone else's morale if yours isn’t in a good spot," added Buffini. "As a leader, it starts with you."
To that end, Buffini explained to attendees that knowing what you're good at is an important first step in successfully motivating agents.
"Motivation is good, but inspiration is better," said Buffini, who encouraged attendees to facilitate conversations with their agents to determine what they're currently excited about—and what will excite them in the future.
"Facilitate a conversation, then remind them," said Buffini. "Lead them to what they want, what they're about, and who they are."
Managing expectations can be a challenging proposition, especially as new demographics enter the workforce and look for a brokerage where they can hang their hat.
So how can leaders ensure that they're managing the expectations of various demographics, specifically millennials, without compromising the business needs and objectives of brokerages today—and those going forward?
According to Fite, the most important thing to remember is that they're people.
"We were all millennials at one time, we just weren’t named that," said Fite. "We all come with our own set of beliefs, thoughts, goals and dreams, so we have to determine how to take the individual and serve them to help them serve themselves."
"We coach a bunch of millennials, and we hire a bunch of millennials—and you're right, they're just people," confirmed Buffini.
"When we coach the older generation, we're like, 'hey, you need to build in a little bit of life here, a bit of fun, a bit of living. You've got the work ethic, but you don’t have the life ethic.' For the younger crew, our message is, 'you've got the philosophy, but you've gotta go to work.'"
View the webinar, in full, below:
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