Business LeadershipElite Agent

John Knight: The 10 Traits of Future Leaders

It isn’t every single agent that is cut out to be a principal. John Knight investigates how to cultivate leadership behaviours which will one day enable a smooth transition from salesperson to business leader.

I see businesses start. I see businesses stop. What makes one succeed where another has failed? Through our experience of working with agents and real estate businesses of all shapes and sizes, we have been able to iden-tify the traits of those agents able to make the transition to the ultimate role – principal.

EVERYONE IS A BUSINESS
I love the philosophy of ‘everyone is a business’ – this is a great philosophical base for how every future principal should start thinking now. Those who successfully transition from agent to principal have been thinking about themselves like a business well before they start or buy their own agency, and once they are in that position they mentor their team on the same basis.

THINK BIG & HAIRY
With their eyes wide open, they are able to take a long-term view of where they are going. Usually they have a work and/or personal BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that really drives and motivates them to reach forward. Those who don’t have this passion and drive simply run out of energy when they come across the various hurdles along the way.

STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
I’ve always loved the book Purple Cow by Seth Godin. Essentially, it encourages you to know why people do business with you and make sure that this reason is different to what everyone else is saying. Great future principals are always striving to be different and remarkable at something, because if you do this, you will be remembered.

LEVERAGE IS VALUE
In real estate, whether you are an agent or a principal, your machine is the systems, processes and procedures you build around your people. As a successful agent, one of your biggest barriers to growth is your own capacity. Build leverage by employing others to do the things you are not great at and wrap around them great systems and processes.

YOU PUT CASH ASIDE FOR A RAINY DAY
Spending money to make money is often required in business, but the successful agents are still able to put money aside for a rainy day. This industry is constantly experiencing highs and lows (either within or outside your control); successful agents and successful principals leave themselves with room to move.

Learn how to be the leader you want to be before becoming a principal – there will be enough other things to learn once you get there.

CULTURE IS KING
As a principal, your team can often get more focus than you give yourself. The culture you create is essential to the success of your business; I know from experience that those businesses with an engaged, aligned and cooperative team enjoy the best financial results. Invest in your culture.

YOU DON’T TOLERATE WASTE
As a successful agent, wasted time and money infuriates you; even more than that, you don’t tolerate it. One of the biggest wastes I see is unfunded vendor advertising – knowing how to recover VPA upfront can have a massive impact on the financial success of you and your business.

EGO IS NOT A DIRTY WORD
The competitive spirit of the real estate industry is one of the reasons it is great. With so many principals coming through the ranks as a salespeople, we should not be surprised that this competitive spirit can sometimes come across as ego. Great future principals are able to find that balance between just the right amount of ego and enough common sense to not believe their own bull too much.

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW
Knowing what you are good at and what you are not means you can focus on the gaps to ensure your energy is utilised in the most efficient way possible. Successful future principals surround themselves now with those they feel comfortable enough with to ask the silly questions.

LEARN TO LEAD
Whether you have a team underneath you or not, if you are already successful as an agent you will be seen as a leader.

Thinking you want to be a principal? Start working on the traits that will make you successful as an agent now and in the future as the business owner.

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