Leanne Pilkington: profiling with purpose

Unlocking the secrets of effective communication in real estate can lead to powerful outcomes. Here, Leanne Pilkington explains how Laing+Simmons leverages profiling tools and communication-style workshops to create a more harmonious and productive workplace.

Understanding not only how, but why, people communicate the way they do, enables us to understand their perspective.

Then we can make a more meaningful point.

In real estate, this can lead to powerful outcomes, both for people and businesses. 

At Laing+Simmons, we use a range of profiling tools with the corporate team and our franchisees.

We also deliver communication-style workshops in our offices and teach our team members how to identify other peoples’ behavioural styles.

Real estate people are passionate, and customers can experience heightened levels of stress.

Among the areas we’ve found behavioural profiling helps most is when the temperature is raised. 

In conflict situations.

Behaviour in conflict is one of the areas we focus on when we induct new team members.

Through my charity work with the sister2sister Foundation, I’ve seen it in action, and it’s fascinating to see how people’s motivation and style can change when in conflict. 

Some people will do everything they can to avoid conflict – make it go away – without addressing the issue.

They are “blue”. Others become super-analytical – “green” – and others erupt – “red”.

To uncover these styles, our workshops simulate conflict scenarios in which we ask everyone how they are feeling and how we should best approach them to get a positive outcome.

Highlighting how different styles can cause conflict with each other, and how best to approach people when they are in conflict, is incredibly important.

Without this basis, we risk reacting to what someone is communicating to us in a way which makes things worse.

This breeds confusion.

I was once in a meeting when a colleague, who I completely respect, overreacted to something I deemed relatively unimportant.

My instant reaction was confusion, but then I realised this person was “red” in conflict. This was not the moment to argue the point.

Instead, it’s necessary to allow people with this style to calm down naturally.

Typically, they realise they have overreacted, and then you can make some progress. That’s precisely what happened.

Of course, profiling is about understanding your own style and motivation as much as it is about understanding others. 

By nature, I am a very fast decision-maker. I am always looking to move forward.

I see it as a positive trait, but there are plenty of people who find it exhausting, even frustrating. 

Others need a lot more detail to make a decision.

This can cause conflict if you don’t recognise that they have their own drivers.

They may think I make decisions without thinking it through, which isn’t the case.

Instead, I decide what I need to know before I press ‘go’ with the knowledge and confidence that I’ll discover the rest of what I need to know along the way.

Attempting to force someone with an analytical style to do likewise is unlikely to succeed.

Another example, is another colleague, another person I completely respect.

For this person, a problem is rarely laid out in simple terms.

Often they feel it necessary to share a more detailed background than I consider warranted.

When it’s needed, I expedite the discussion. But when appropriate, I let them share, as it’s important to them. Because there’s value in it.

You can’t expect people to adapt to the style of others all the time. Simply understanding the differences can make for a more harmonious and productive workplace.

Every workplace and every real estate business is better because of the different people in the team.

The different skills, experience and perspectives they bring make for a richer, more diverse and more engaging environment.

For leaders, understanding the motivations and behavioural drivers of team members is an essential complement to this.

It’s how you bring out their best.

Show More

Leanne Pilkington

Leanne Pilkington is Chief Executive Officer and Director of Laing+Simmons.