Despite the changing landscape of real estate investments and other industries, which have experienced the effects of the pandemic and now a post-pandemic world, there are fundamental leadership styles that stand the test of time. In my experience in the brokerage world, I’ve learned and adopted the philosophy of leading by example. The strategy can inspire others to jump in and take part too, as it emphasizes to them that you’re ready and willing to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work.
Follow these guidelines to lead by example and create a productive, high-achieving team.
1. Develop an Ownership Mentality
Having an ownership mentality refers to having a sense of responsibility about a business outcome, and wanting to carry out steps to make it happen. If your team sees that you’re willing to step in and put in the hours to reach a goal, they may be motivated to do the same. Creating an ownership mentality for a team can drive results and enable everyone to celebrate the wins together.
2. Make the First Effort
During Covid, work-from-home became the norm for many segments, including real estate. For a time, it was essential to prioritize health and carry out Zoom meetings and online interactions. In New York, my team and I shifted our workplaces to home offices as well and carried on.
Once conditions were set to make returning to the office possible and safe, workers across the nation and globe had grown accustomed to the different conditions. Many offices struggled (and some are still in the process of transitioning) to encourage employees to meet face-to-face again.
In my case, I knew that stating to team members that it was time to return to the office, and then staying home myself, would cause conflicting messages. With that in mind, I took the lead and headed into the office myself. It sent the message to others that showing up at work, even if it took extra effort, was valuable and essential for our success. In time, others followed and returned as well. Now our team meets regularly to have in-person meetings, and these gatherings facilitate communication and cooperation.
3. Be Accessible to Others
Early on in my career I worked in a setting with an open floor plan. In this type of environment, I was able to listen to those around me and absorb what they were doing. While some office arrangements have changed and you may find yourself in an office, as I am, the idea of letting others know you’re available is important. You’ll be able to answer questions, provide feedback to ideas, and encourage others to pursue their initiatives. It also shows that you’re willing to address matters that need attention and work with others toward solutions.
4. Acknowledge Missteps Openly
As I mentioned in my article about learning from mistakes, it’s inevitable that errors will occur. In an environment where people feel like they need to cover up their missteps or make excuses, it can be difficult to have real learning take place. As a leader, you can show that when you make mistakes, you admit them and address them head on.
5. Give Others a Chance to Grow
It may seem natural to direct meetings as a leader, and have others listen to your agenda. However, I’ve found that letting those with junior positions participate as well can be helpful for their own growth. It lets them see that you value their insight, and it also gives them a chance to research and have front line experience.
6. Keep a Team Mentality
When you’re overseeing a group, it’s important to keep the focus on the team and not yourself. During meetings and projects, you can make an effort to give credit where it is due. I also like to speak in terms of “we” as opposed to “I” during group discussions.
While it may be easy to think about leading by example, it’s not always simple to carry out. If you’re in a leadership position, you might start by reflecting on your own style. Then look for actions you can take that set the tone for the team. When looking to move into a leadership role, a good starting place is often to jump in and carry out tasks that will help the team or company move toward an objective. You might also ask what else you can do. There could be mistakes along the way, but as long as you learn from them, you can grow both individually and as a team. By keeping a collective mindset, the accomplishments can be credited to your entire team.