Being a CEO comes with a busier schedule than most, but there’s nothing more important than being accessible to both your staff and clients – even if there are over 400 of them.
Having staff and customers who view you as an approachable CEO is extremely pertinent. It can translate to staff being friendly to clients and the overall company being viewed as one that people want to join or hire for services.
In real estate, and any industry more broadly, clients need to see your business as open, approachable and one whose staff are willing to take time to get to know individuals.
The best way to drive this in a company is for staff to experience it firsthand from the CEO and those in leadership positions.
Bureaucracy and ‘protection’ around any CEO should be minimised so that the company and those within it, no matter how big or small, don’t seem distant. The leader should still draw boundaries about when, where and how often they are contacted, but connecting with people personally should take precedence over certain other duties.
If I could give my top tips to other CEOs on how to be more accessible, especially for younger CEOs who are just stepping into the role, they would be as follows.
HAVE YOUR MOBILE NUMBER ON YOUR WEBSITE
This one won’t be for everybody, but a way to show that you are willing to speak to everyone is to have your mobile number on your website. This makes you accessible to any stakeholder or team member who may have something of value to say.
If I don’t have an open-door and open-phone policy with my customers, I find it a little contradictory when I want agents to provide the best customer service possible.
Sure, it comes with the risk of being bombarded with complaints, questions suited for other team members and everything in between, but the things that can come through something like this can be so valuable to improving operations, systems and outcomes.
I want to ensure I’m accessible to all 400 staff, even if that means just one to two phone calls a day. If you’re willing to give out your mobile number, it’s also important to put some non-negotiables in place to ensure you strike a happy work-life balance. This might mean no phone calls before 8:00am during school drop-off, or after 7pm, for example.
BE PEOPLE DRIVEN
If you want your team to provide the best customer service it needs to start from the top. This can keep you grounded and act as a reminder that people can make or break a company. It means being available and making others feel that the company isn’t a big corporate filled with bureaucracy, but filled with approachable people who are always willing to listen.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED INDIVIDUALS
For younger CEOs, this involves having team members in a similar age bracket to yourself so that others can understand the perspectives you have and effectively communicate these with the rest of the team. Older people may think some ideas are too progressive and younger people may think that tradition needs to change, but it is about finding the right balance and being on the same wavelength from a management perspective.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Finding those feelings that lead you to make decisions or sway a certain way and sticking with them is one of the best things you can do. There will always be people with differing opinions and forces influencing the way you think, but supporting those original feelings you have is so important in making a decision you are comfortable with, and this in turn makes you confident sharing it with others.
HAVE STRATEGIC ASPIRATIONS
Whether it be to become more digitised or improve the overall customer experience, CEOs should always be offering something new, doing better and streamlining processes. These aspirations can always be at the back of your mind and move to the front once you are confident any changes can be implemented. This attitude will also encourage your team to be forward-thinking and imaginative when it comes to innovation.