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The power of praise: Unlocking leadership with Ray White

You must be prepared to praise your team if you want to develop leaders.

That was the message coming out of Day 1 at Ray White’s inaugural Leadership Week on the Gold Coast today.

Ray White Group Chairman, Brian White, AO, said the impact leadership provided on a business was truly astonishing.

“Leadership gives members confidence,” Brian White said.

“A ‘born leader’ is a good phrase. 

“We have shown that if you adopt some discipline you can have massive progress as a leader.” 

Brian White said that across the group they had found that good businesses had good leadership.

He said that when he took over the business his father told him to “be a good leader”.

“He had never used that word in all my youth, we never talked about leadership,” he said.

“When you are the boss you are in danger, and my father challenged me on this.”

His biggest piece of advice to Ray White business owners was to let people know when they’d done a good job.

“Praise your teams,” he said.

“Praise people who refer business to us.

“Praise is one of the greatest gifts in the development of a leader.”

Brian White and Carey Smith

Ray White Managing Director, Dan White, said the group aimed to empower leaders, create a family experience, network effects and competition creation. 

“We have over 1000 leaders in our group and understanding where they are on their journey is critical, as their effectiveness defines our future,” Dan White said.

“We need to hustle and make sure we are across our leadership opportunities and challenges.”

He said the core businesses all believe that threats to their businesses are significant.

“Most other groups haven’t grown and we know that the bigger you get, the bigger it is to crush curiosity,” he said.

“I like the term custodian, it’s a liberating concept.”

Ben White, Sam White and Dan White

Business owner David Walker, of Ray White Upper North Shore, said leadership was about empowering your people.

“We have goals but ultimately as a leader, I want to see the people in our business do the best they can,” Mr Walker said.

“We want to be growing our people and a business that everyone wants to turn up to.”

Mr Walker started his business eight years ago in a garage and has since grown to six offices and 120 staff. 

He identified three growth buckets – team, leadership and footprint. 

“I’ve learned so much in the last eight years about leadership and what I can do better – I’m still learning today,” Mr Walker said.

“It was very me-centred when I started. 

“When we expanded, it was still a bit me-centric. 

“It wasn’t until I realised that I wanted to have a crack at building a sustainable business it needed to be less about me and that’s when real growth happened.”

He said the moment your people start believing in themselves is when they’ll start investing in themselves and it will take their business to the next level.

As leaders, it’s your job to make them believe in themselves. 

“I don’t see myself as senior to anyone, I just have a different role and responsibility,” he said.

David Walker of Ray White Upper North Shore

Ray White Head of Performance and Recognition, Bianca Denham, said leadership was critical to success.

“There’s only three things that happen naturally in organisations: friction, confusion and underperformance but leadership enables ambition to flourish,” Ms Denham said.

Ray White Head of Performance and Recognition Bianca Denham

The family-owned group has grown using the ‘Three Horizon’ model, identifying the stages of evolution of businesses and how well-established businesses can help the creation of new opportunities.

The families’ Horizon 3 businesses are more experimental (Neoval).

Horizon 2 (Ailo and NurtureCloud) are high growth and Horizon 1 businesses are the core businesses (Ray White, LMG and RWC).

Sam White, Founder and Executive Chairman of Loan Market, started the financial services group in 1994, but said he continued to learn.

“Market share drives everything for us, and brokers like continuity,” Sam White said. 

Ben White, Founder of Ailo, said the platform currently boasts more than 13,000 property managers, 2500 tradespeople, 60,000 renters and 50,000 landlords.

“I am excited by the potential of Ailo, and I spend a lot of time thinking about the future but 99 per cent of my time is on the challenges of now,” Ben White said.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.