Peter Gilchrist: Collaborate or Compete?

The leadership role is often distorted in real estate because most leaders are also salespeople. This presents a challenge for leaders to manage priorities especially when the biggest problem may be even closer to home.

I would estimate that 90 per cent of those in a leadership role are also still in the sales room, competing with the rest of the team on all levels.

In addition, many oversee property management, with sometimes as many as 600 properties on the rent roll. If that is not complicated enough, these ‘leaders’ are also in charge of everything from customer service to finance to any other issue that arises in relation to operations and strategy in the growth of the business.

Impede this further by throwing in partnerships, with some partners selling and others silent. Now, in our industry, some of these partnerships take this leadership complex to a whole other level because they involve family: wives, husbands, partners or children. This makes for a multifaceted discussion of leadership that requires exploration and development, with all these scenarios taken into consideration.

A really good exercise for managers is to write down four words: Leadership, Management, Sales and
Self. Alongside each of those headings write down the percentage of time you are spending in each area; then write down the percentage of time you should be spending in each area. Where are the gaps?

Your effectiveness in management and sales is directly proportional to where you spend most of your time.

Effectiveness in management and sales is directly proportional to where you spend most of your time. I would suspect that for most managers leadership would get a paltry five per cent of that time.

Imagine, for a moment, great leaders like Sir Alex Ferguson (regarded as one of the greatest and most successful football managers of all time). What if, while managing, he was one of the top three players on the field at the same time? Picture it: Sir Alex, Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney all playing in the front row, but at the same time Sir Alex needs to be leading the team as well.

Then complicate the situation even more by noting that Sir Alex’s little brother is the fullback. And, just to make a point, add in the fact that Sir Alex, his wife and two other people own the whole team. It would be an untenable situation for any professional leader to be in. But yes, this is what we do in real estate!

So how do you get on top of all this? It would be easy for me just to reel off the top 10 leadership things you need to focus on. But I would suggest that the number one leadership issue is YOU! If you understand yourself and know what sort of leader you are and what sort you want to be, then you have a shot at being a leader who can and does manage the variable leadership role effectively.

I would like to suggest that the number one leadership issue is you!

So where do we start? Neuroscience tells us we live from two different zones. To simplify, let’s call them the Red Zone and the Blue Zone. The Red Zone is your ‘fight, flight, freeze’ zone, activated when you are stressed, reactive, judgemental or feeling under pressure. It is most likely to present itself as autocratic, possibly narcissistic, confrontational and even aggressive.

The Blue Zone is our relaxed, content, safe and happy zone. When you are operating from this zone you are likely to be more aware, conscious, calm, responsive and open in solving and managing anything that arises.

My experience is that leaders operating out of the Blue Zone have teams that last longer. Autocratic, aggressive management born out of stress and lack of awareness always seems to end badly – top people leave, the story changes, others follow suit and the ‘leader’ is left to start over again.

Being conscious of who you are and how you lead is the start of the process of becoming not only a better leader, but perhaps a happier person.

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Peter Gilchrist

Peter Gilchrist is a leading coach who has been working with both top managers and top salespeople in the area of growth for over 30 years. For more information visit apetergilchrist.com.au.