Why empathy is the key to good leadership: Sam Rigopoulos

In a five part series we caught up with some of the keynote speakers ahead of TBORE 2018 to find out more about their businesses, where great ideas come from and how they onboard new team members. Part two features Sam Rigopoulos of Jellis Craig.

Where do great ideas in your business come from?

We have a strong collaborative focus in our business; many ideas come from within and others come from the coaches and mentors we engage with. Dr Fred Grosse is a mentor of mine and he has been helpful in providing me with industry connections to people performing well in the virtual assistant space. Phil Harris has been great to us in this space also; we have met with him on a few occasions to refine our progress.

Favourite question to ask someone in a job interview? What does the answer tell you about the person?

‘What style of management do you respond well to?’ The response usually tells me if they are a good autonomous worker who also likes to learn or a victim who likes to hide. Another good question is, ‘If you are not successful in real estate what is your fall-back plan/Plan B?’. If they have an answer to this they are not committed enough; this is an industry that requires you to burn the boats to truly succeed.

What is one characteristic that every leader should possess, and why?

Empathy is key. Everyone is at a different level on a different journey, and the simplicity of making time to listen and understand your team will help them feel validated and a part of something.

How do you help a new employee understand the culture of your business?

Lead by example and call people out immediately on issues that go against the culture. Silence implies consent, so if you see something happen – even if you know it is a one-off mistake by a colleague – you must address it.

Who are your leadership mentors and what do they do to inspire you?

Dr Fred Grosse; he inspires me to stay focused on what I can control and to get clear on what I want. Other mentors for me are the likes of Robin Sharma and Tony Robbins – I listen to their podcasts regularly and always feel inspired to believe in myself, and trust that the universe will reward the effort and intent I show up with.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Leadership doesn’t mean less work and talk; it’s the opposite. Stay humble, double-down on your work effort and lead from the front so your team know you are prepared to go as hard, if not harder, than them to create the outcomes you are looking for. And do the dishes! A good leader doesn’t walk past paper on the floor or dishes in the sink. Set the tone, set the standard.

Sam will be speaking at The Business of Real Estate on the Gold Coast on 3-4 September. For more information visit thebusinessofrealestate.com.au.

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