Being a leader means not only being on top of your game, but also being in touch with the needs of your agents. Santiago Arana of The Agency shares his own insights into leadership.
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Good leadership goes far beyond winning awards and hitting sales targets. From being transparent about your challenges to creating an environment of open communication, here are five ways to be a better leader for your agents.
Be a good listener
Listening is a powerful tool. Not only does this broaden your perspective, but it demonstrates that you have respect and consideration for your team and colleagues, which helps build trust and relationships.
In an environment where listening is valued and voices are honored, your talented team will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas with you – and collaboration breeds success for everyone. I’ve also found that when you’re a good listener, people will also tend to listen to you more attentively.
lead by example
It is a principle that fascinates me. In its simplest definition, leading by example means being a person of your word and modeling the behavior you want to see in your team members. You cannot say one thing and behave differently; this kind of behavior from a leader ruins your credibility and challenges team members’ trust and respect for you.
For example, I often share the story of my early days in real estate – how I came to the United States with $120 in my pocket and had to make do. I held tables while I got my real estate license, then I started hitting the sidewalk, knocking on doors every weekend and introducing myself to potential clients.
I sat at open houses – listings that weren’t even mine – in an effort to generate my own customer database. It took me seven or eight years to start succeeding. My experience was not easy and I often had to get up and push to get through the next day.
As a leader, I think back to these times frequently, especially when talking to my team members about perseverance and resilience. Using my own experience, I can encourage and guide in an authentic and empathetic way.
Take the time to log in
When you’re in a leadership position, you often take on more responsibility, which means your schedule fills up, making it harder to find time for meaningful one-on-one conversations with new agents who might benefit from a direct mentoring.
I remember how overwhelming it was to be a new agent, and having an expert source of referral when issues arise helps tremendously when it comes to navigating the buying process and sale.
Ideally, you will be able to find time slots to connect, even if it is brief. I make calls while on my way to a list or meeting and share and receive voice memos throughout the day when I’m available. But if you feel pressed for time and still want to provide in-person support, introduce yourself to a trusted professional colleague who you think might be helpful – and more readily available!
Alternatively, you can encourage new agents to find a coach who can guide them through certain sticking points – press your contacts and make recommendations and introductions for this too.
Never stop learning and sharing
This relates to “leading by example”: it is important to model the behaviors you want to instill in your colleagues and team members. Demonstrate your lifelong pursuit of knowledge, be sure to share great articles, book recommendations, podcasts, and more at sales meetings or via email so new agents can access resources when they’re ready to feel inspired, learn more or improve their skills.
For some quick ideas, see my picks for 5 Sales Podcasts Every Agent Should Listen To.
Share what inspires and uplifts you
Life presents us with many challenges, and I truly believe that a good leader should be transparent about obstacles in the road and share tools that help others shift gears and overcome challenges.
It is equally important to share what inspires you; what ignites your mind and soul. It can be simple things – a TedTalk, a TV show, a meditation practice, a song, a particular part of the beach, or a certain hike. You never know if something that resonated with you will speak to someone else who is looking for guidance.
As a great advocate for mental health, I also believe that having good mental fitness is essential. As someone in a leadership position with a high profile and platform, I gladly take the opportunity to share what has worked for me. You can read more about my five favorite mental health apps here.
Reframe and Repeat: Choose to See Challenges as Opportunities
While I don’t favor “toxic positivity” – a tactic that glosses over and fails to fully acknowledge a difficult situation – I do believe that leaders can cultivate in their teams an approach to setbacks that allows opportunities to grow, to stretch and learn. It’s about acknowledging challenges, but not being leveled by them. Work to find the lesson in a setback.
I firmly believe that you can only see the light in the darkest times. If all goes well and all those good things happen, you may not be making the right decisions. When it’s dark, that’s the only time you can really tell where the light is, and those are truly life-changing times.