It’s easy to relax into the idea that our CEO, founder, and principal broker, Harout Keuroghlian, is the leader here at JohnHart Real Estate. While that’s true, it’s also an oversimplification. That’s because, by the very tenets of our company, Harout encourages leadership development in all roles and at all levels within our company. JohnHart consists of an army of outstanding real estate professionals supported by a team of experts. In order to achieve the dynamism necessary to make that model work, everyone has to be a leader.
Making Leadership Development Second Nature
We hear a lot about “born leaders.” That’s great for legends, but most of us aren’t born with a scepter and a crown. We have to learn our leadership skills. This often means a lot of trying… and a lot of failing. But as Daniel Coyle wrote, “The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.”
So, how do we get better at handling mistakes? Through practice. Late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar arguably said it best: “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” Ultimately, your goal is to make leadership your default setting. You want the qualities of a leader to come to you automatically and unconsciously.
But if you’re not a natural born leader, and most of us aren’t, then you’ll need to develop those instincts manually and consciously. And through daily practice, they become your nature. So, let’s examine the attributes most important during your leadership development endeavors.
Keep Decisions Quick, Yet Mindful
Effective leaders are known for making quick and mindful decisions. But if you’re unfamiliar with mindfulness, you might not immediately recognize it. Mindfulness calls on you to put aside bias and judgment to simply live in the present moment. Learning from the past and thinking about the future has its merit. But we live in the present. And if you remember this, it can lead to profound clarity, focus, and composure.
Quick, mindful decisions also reduce the opportunity for doubt to lead you back to your bias. By developing mindfulness, you’re sharpening your emotional intelligence. And this opens you up to the kind of empathy that releases the emotional pressure that often comes with tough decisions.
Finally, astute attention to detail can bring remarkable accuracy to quick decision-making. This isn’t an invitation to micro-manage. Rather, it’s a challenge to see the finer nuances of the big strokes when you’re actively addressing a challenge. Skills like this don’t come to you overnight. It’s likely why leaders are a minority. But daily practices in mindfulness can help your quick decisions to land more often than not.
A Safe Team is an Effective Team
Another reason you need to be comfortable making quick, mindful decisions is because it fosters a feeling of safety amongst your team. This was a highlight of a recent TED Talk by author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek. He spoke at great length about how selfless actions can reinforce respect for a leader.
This means you need to get fully acquainted with your higher purpose. What do you ultimately aim to accomplish? And does it benefit more than yourself? Your team needs to be able to clearly identify this trait in you.
Consider the difference between a commander who leads an army from the relative safety of a fortress versus the commander who enters the fray with their soldiers. It’s easy to see which of these leaders has the best chance of inspiring their army.
Responsibility is a surprising sacrifice you can make to help your team feel safe. When you delegate responsibility and put your trust in your team to get a job done, they become even more invested. But if you micromanage and show a lack of faith in your team, they live in constant fear of a fatal mistake. And inspiring fear in others is rarely (if ever) conducive to a successful leader.
Finding Accountability in Leadership Development
One of the worst philosophies for a leader to adopt is “Do as I say, not as I do.” When engaging in leadership development practices, challenge yourself to instead lead by example. This means taking accountability for success and failure alike.
How does a leader stay accountable? You can make sure to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Stay mindful of your mission/higher purpose
- Keep your focus on solutions more than problems
- Maintain honesty with your team… and yourself
- Speak in a manner that indicates ownership
The great thing about accountability is that it’s contagious! When your team recognizes it in you, you’re likely to see them adopt it themselves.
Great Leaders Are Nothing Without Their Critics
Criticism is an integral tool of leadership development… so stay open to it! “Yes” men may seem great until they’re rubber stamping your bad ideas. And everybody has bad ideas. An effective team will disagree with your direction from time to time. Sometimes they’re wrong. Other times they’re right. But, unless you stay open to criticism, you’ll eventually find that out the hard way.
A leader understands the merit in opposing views. This doesn’t mean they should always accept those views. In fact, giving too much credit to criticism is its own pitfall. Instead, a leader needs to carefully balance differing perspectives with their higher purpose or mission in mind.
You must also be savvy enough to recognize the difference between criticism and insubordination. Welcome criticism. But be much more discerning about open defiance.
Ultimately, an openness to criticism reveals a confidence that inspires trust and communication in your team. So, resist any temptations to respond to critics with offense. A healthy amount of resistance will lend traction to your actions.
Adding Pain to Procrastination’s Pull
People may not love to procrastinate, but they do it anyway. In Dr. Piers Steel’s 2010 book The Procrastination Equation, he revealed that 95 percent of the individuals he surveyed admitted to procrastinating “some of the time.” According to another of Steel’s studies published by APA PsycNet, 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators. But when we look toward a leader, procrastination is the last thing we need.
So, during leadership development practices, how do you keep the urge to procrastinate at bay? Ultimately, you need to associate more pain than pleasure with procrastination. And putting off until tomorrow what doesn’t absolutely need to be done today can be pretty pleasurable.
One way to surmount this hurdle is by reducing the feelings of overwhelm associated to certain integral tasks. Some people prefer to tackle their most daunting task first. Others prefer to aim for low hanging fruit. No matter your preference, lean into the pressure until the pain of inactivity is simply too much to bear.
You can also use tried-and-tested time management techniques to reduce procrastination’s pull. Harout recommends timeboxing or the Pomodoro technique. Not only will they inspire an almost religious commitment to action, they’ll also help with organization. And all of the above is great for your leadership development efforts.
The Leadership Challenge
Finally, if you can’t lead others into leadership, then what kind of leader are you? The culture at JohnHart calls on all of us to be leaders. And this means it’s important for those in a position of leadership to challenge their teams. Adversity breeds strength, so challenges are valuable in the leadership development of every team member.
At JohnHart, we consistently provide training programs so that our agents have plenty of chances to develop their knowledge of contemporary real estate. We want our agents to grow, start their own brokerages, and inspire future industry leaders.
And if your team isn’t growing? Then soon all you’ll have left to lead is a stagnating business. Businesses thrive when everyone prioritizes leadership development, even at the most basic levels of operation. See? It doesn’t have to be lonely at the top!