Business LeadershipElite Agent

50 lessons that will make you a better leader

The Leadership Diaries, an exclusive set of Elite Agent podcast interviews, turns one next month. Over the past 12 months, and with much more still to come, we’ve discovered leadership is a skill, an art and an essential ingredient for your business to achieve growth.

To celebrate the milestone we’ve put together, in no particular order, our top 50 tips from The Leadership Diaries.

1   What isn’t working?
“If I get everyone around the room to tell me what’s working, I get some good ideas. But If I get everyone to tell me what’s not working, probably 50 per cent of the room has the same issue. It helps me understand what’s not working so I can fix it.” Matt Lahood, CEO, The Agency (elite.ag/ep5)

2   Feedback is a gift
“I won’t give somebody advice or guidance if I don’t care about their career. You should see feedback as an indication that someone sees something in you and would like to help you grow. Grab that feedback with both hands and don’t fire back when you get advice.” Kate Strickland, Director, Marshall White Brighton (elite.ag/ep61)

3   Keep it simple
“You have to keep your rules simple and teach your team what you really want them to be and do, and they’ll do it. People are very simple creatures, but if you treat them like they’re stupid they’ll act like they’re stupid.” JoAnna Ferrari, Founder, High Impact Leadership (elite.ag/ep56)

Michael Love

4   Not all advice is right for you
“All advice is good advice. It’s [having] the ability to process and determine whether that’s going to suit me right now.” Michael Love, Director, Love & Co. (elite.ag/ep59)

5   To get control, give it up
“The number one thing that gets in the way of an agent’s ability to build a team is their desire to control everything.” Peter Sheahan, Founder/Group CEO, Karrikins Group (elite.ag/ep48)

6   Be the light
“People will look to you to be uplifted, for optimism and momentum. You need to always bring that face and game to work and it doesn’t matter how bad your day is, you need to play that role.” Gina McCartney, Executive General Manager of Marketing and Events, REA Group (elite.ag/ep69)

7   Take the bad with the good
“I always think to myself: everything happens for the right reason and it serves me. Stop calling things good and bad.” JoAnna Ferrari, Founder, High Impact Leadership Pty Ltd (elite.ag/ep56)

8   Everything is possible
“Whatever you can think of that could be good for you and your business is possible; it’s just a matter of how. Expand your current reality to meet your expectations.” John McGrath, Founder, McGrath Estate Agents (elite.ag/ep43)

9   Fully commit
“You are responsible for the business, and the standard of services you offer to your clients, and your people. Don’t do it if you can’t fully commit.” Brian White AO, Chairman, Ray White (elite.ag/ep63)

10   More than a title
“Be authentic. Leaders will lead from any position, regardless of their title.” Jason Tait, Founder, PropertyMe (upcoming episode)

11   Never stop learning
“True leaders are made, not born. So many unlikely people turn into something extraordinary through training, experience and support.” Brian White AO, Chairman, Ray White (elite.ag/ep63)

True leaders are made, not born. So many unlikely people turn into something extraordinary through training, experience and support.

12   Change is necessary
“What got you here won’t get you there. If you want to achieve bigger and better things you have to grow to a new level.” John McGrath, Founder, McGrath Estate Agents (elite.ag/ep43)

13   Delegate clearly
“Listen to your team, ask them what they need from you but be really clear on what you need from them. It’s easy to just listen, but often what teams crave is direction, shelter and a degree of strength. So be clear on what that means and what you need.” Gina McCartney, Executive General Manager of Marketing and Events, REA Group (elite.ag/ep69)

14   Make meetings efficient
“The first thing I do with my team is, at 8:48 every morning, we have a 10-minute stander. It’s very exact and it’s a great Patrick Lencioni trick; if you create meetings at weird times then people won’t be late.” Alister Maple-Brown, CEO, Rockend (elite.ag/ep62)

15   Invest in their success
“It’s our role to be creating the genius maker and not [to] be the genius.” Megan Jaffe, Principal, Ray White Remuera (elite.ag/ep42)

Gina McCartney

16   Who are you trying to influence?
“Always stay true to who your audience is and what you want them to do. When you know who you’re talking to, everything else just kind of falls into place.” Gina McCartney, Executive General Manager of Marketing and Events, REA Group (elite.ag/ep69)

17   Recruit diverse talent where possible
“When it comes to staying ahead of the curve, spread out the responsibility for what’s coming next because it’s never a linear path. You want smart people who understand what’s important to you, what you do within your strategies and who think about all the different ways it can be done.” Tracey Fellows, President of Global Digital Real Estate, News Corp (elite.ag/ep21)

18   Life and work
“I like to ask my team how life’s going. If something’s happening outside of work, it will affect their work life. For example, they could have 10 listings but they’re going to lose them all if they’re not in the right head space.” Matt Lahood, CEO, The Agency (elite.ag/ep5

19   Don’t just be the boss
“You need to bring value to all your people, not just be their boss. I hate the word ‘boss’.” Brian White AO, Chairman, Ray White (elite.ag/ep63)

20   Hire for strengths
“Hire people who are self-driven, who have ambition and who care about the purpose of your company. Hire people who play to each other’s strengths and weaknesses, because having diversity at the table helps keep everybody energised and excited about what they do.” Tracey Fellows, President of Global Digital Real Estate, News Corp (elite.ag/ep21)

21   Would you trust them with your kids?
“When I’m looking for new people, fundamentally, if they’re not somebody that I would feel comfortable with to go and pick my little boy up from kinder, then they don’t have the values to work in our team. Skills I’m happy to train, but it’s the values they carry which is the most important factor.” Michael Love, Director, Love & Co (elite.ag/ep59)

22   Not so fast
“When I recruit someone, if they say immediately they are going to ‘hit the ground running’ from day one it’s a red flag, because they haven’t had time to listen, learn or absorb.” Alister Maple-Brown, CEO, Rockend (elite.ag/ep62)

23   Change = growth
“When looking for a new hire, ask them about how they deal with change – because a willingness to change is essential for growth and development.” Jason Tait, Founder, PropertyMe (upcoming episode)

Skills I’m happy to train, but it’s the values they carry which is the most important factor.

24   Have a support network
“The adrenaline [of owning your own business] will wear off at some point. You really do need to steel yourself for moments, and you really need to be able to call your wife or parents or your partner and have them tell you, ‘you’re going to be fine’.” Cameron Nicholls, Director, Nicholls & Co (elite.ag/ep73)

25   Keep it real
“Don’t forget that your people are human beings. If you don’t lead from a human perspective I’m not interested in knowing you.” JoAnna Ferrari, Founder, High Impact Leadership Pty Ltd (elite.ag/ep56)

26   Outgrow your mentors
“I have several mentors and they change over time. If we don’t outgrow our mentors I don’t believe they are effective in their role.” Megan Jaffe, Principal, Ray White Remuera (elite.ag/ep42)

27   What’s in your heart?
“One of my past mentors once told me that it’s all about love. It’s not about big words or pretty pictures. It’s about what’s in your heart, and only when your people know what’s in your heart can they follow you.” Tracey Fellows, President of Global Digital Real Estate, News Corp (elite.ag/ep21)

Michael Sheargold

28   Direct your energy wisely
“The number one role of a leader is to create positive energy in the direction of a vision and clear negative energy getting in the way of a vision. The way you find out where that energy is at is through empathy.” Michael Sheargold, CEO, Real Estate Results Network (elite.ag/ep58)

29   Understand yourself
“Someone going into a leadership position for the first time should invest in their emotional intelligence. Make sure you understand yourself first and build trust with the team around you.” John Knight, CEO, businessDEPOT (elite.ag/ep77)

30   Be decisive
“One characteristic every leader should possess is the ability to make a decision – even if it could be the wrong one – otherwise you run the risk of being a bottleneck and that can have an enormous impact. It’s vital to have the confidence to be wrong and the willingness to admit it when you are.” Jason Tait, Founder, PropertyMe (upcoming episode)

31   Culture is what the business is when you’re not there
“The culture is created by the people who are inside this business. So it isn’t me, it’s us, and the neat thing is if I’m not here it’s still the same.” Megan Jaffe, Principal, Ray White Remuera (elite.ag/ep42)

32   The little things
“The one per-centers build up, so workplace rituals like bringing cake for people’s birthdays or annual Christmas parties help to build great culture in your business.” Shane Kempton, Coach, Drive Performance Coaching (elite.ag/ep64)

Matt Lahood

33   Show up
“Show your team you’re going to war with them. I turn up to auctions on auction day even though I don’t need to be there, because little things you do make a huge impact.” Matt Lahood, CEO, The Agency (elite.ag/ep5)

34   A little tenacity goes a long way
“Tenacity is a virtue every leader should possess. It’s not one you typically see on the top 10 list. But it’s the one characteristic I have identified lately that sorts successful leaders out from the others. They focus on the long game and just don’t give up.” Melanie Laing, Company Head, connectnow (upcoming episode)

35   Embrace conflict
“Conflict is not a bad thing; it can actually be a good thing. To quote J. Willard Marriott, ‘Good timber doesn’t grow with ease – the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees’. You should want to have people with different opinions, to shake things up and say, ‘I think we can actually do this better’.” Michael Sheargold, CEO, Real Estate Results Network (elite.ag/ep58)

36   If you’re having a bad day
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed and fearful, breathe deep, break it down and shift your mindset.” John McGrath, Founder, McGrath Estate Agents (elite.ag/ep43)

37   Insist on the best
“One of the best leadership lessons that I learned from my good bosses is you get what you tolerate.” Tom Panos, Coach, Real Estate Gym (elite.ag/ep80)

38   Address issues with the team face to face

“I hate [saying] things over email because people keep emails and texts and look at them over and over again, and the heat becomes self-fulfilling.” Matt Lahood, CEO, The Agency (elite.ag/ep5)

39   Be a source of calm
“As a leader, you can’t have control unless you’re calm. People will follow you if you’re calm at your core, and it’s contagious.” Chris Hanley OAM, Director, First National Byron Bay (elite.ag/ep49)

40   It’s OK to be vulnerable
“As a leader it’s not a good idea to keep your distance because being a bit more vulnerable can actually bring you power.” Shane Kempton, Coach, Drive Performance Coaching (elite.ag/ep64)

Kate Strickland

41   It’s not about you
“One characteristic every leader should possess is empathy; you never know what someone’s going through and you never know what they’ve left behind. If you’re just all one way and you’ve got that ego cranked up, then don’t think that your team is going to take a bullet for you.” Kate Strickland, Director, Marshall White Brighton (elite.ag/ep61)

42   Time is the best investment
“I like to invest my time into the young people joining our industry who will take it to the next level. Leaders eat last, put their people first and create a safe environment for them to flourish.” Megan Jaffe, Principal, Ray White Remuera (elite.ag/ep42)

43   Proper onboarding pays dividends
“Instead of each office and office manager onboarding an agent, we had a dedicated onboarding concierge.” Sharran Srivatsaa, CEO, Kingston Lane (elite.ag/ep57)

44   Understand the non-negotiables
“If you’re clear around why you do what you do, it will get you through the challenging times. It doesn’t matter if the property market cools and things go backwards, if you understand what the non-negotiables in your business are you can focus on how your systems feed into it and how you can educate your staff around it to effect positive change.” Peter Baines OAM, Director, Hands across the Water (elite.ag/ep75)

45   Plan for what’s next
“As a principal thinking about selling … you want to set up a plan where you can sell the business three to five years before you actually need to be out of it.” Sharran Srivatsaa, CEO, Kingston Lane (elite.ag/ep57)

46   Shine a light on your team
“As a recruitment tool, let candidates know that you have this ‘influence incubator’. It’s pretty compelling to let top talent know that, if they see it all the way through, they could end up being one of the faces of your brand.” Julie Masters, Founder, ODE Management (upcoming episode)

47   Stand for something
“More and more consumers are drawn to brands that actually stand for something and give back to the world.” Sherry Chris, CEO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (US) (elite.ag/ep44)

Megan Jaffe

48   Everyone makes mistakes so learn from them
“I don’t take baggage from the day before into the day ahead. But I will take learnings.” Megan Jaffe, Principal, Ray White Remuera (elite.ag/ep42)

49   Control your own destiny
“I don’t follow politics, because my view is I am not waiting for a better Prime Minister to give me a better life.” Rik Rushton, Founder, Insight Personal Development (elite.ag/ep74)

50   Forget what you think you know
“Every year for the first week I spend some time acting like I know nothing about real estate. Just clear the slate. Sometimes you need to let go of what I call confirmation bias and think differently.” Mark McLeod, Chief of Growth, Ray White (elite.ag/ep60)


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