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Are You A Leader? How To Bring Out The Best In Your People

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Teams are growing, changing and evolving rapidly, as new agent ranks swell, prices rise and uncertainty is ever-present. May is Teams Month here at Inman. Come along with us as we delve into teams today. Follow along with our weekly email newsletter Teams Beat to stay in the loop all year, sent every Thursday, sign up now.

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Livian. He believes that business is nothing but a conduit for personal growth and embraces the company’s vision to Love How You Live. When he’s not leading and growing his organizations, you can find Adam either in the mountains or out in nature with his wife and three children.

Leadership is one of those interesting words that carries a lot of weight and yet may be used too often and in the wrong context. So, what does leadership really mean? It’s important to get clear on what leadership looks like and means to you as you build your team. 

To me, leadership is influence. It’s about creating something bigger than yourself and finding the right people to build that mission and vision with you. It’s about taking full responsibility for everything that goes wrong and taking none of the credit when things go right. At the end of the day, leadership is always about the team first. 

You know you are a leader when you are able to influence others, bring out the best in your team members, and help create other leaders. Here’s how: 

Get to know your team members at a deeper level 

It’s very hard to lead your team well when you don’t know or understand the people you are leading. Like with all relationships, this comes with time. But you can speed up the “get to know you” curve by taking intentional actions, such as having your agents take behavior assessments and then leading a discussion.

Conducing weekly one-on-one meetings is a huge component of getting to know your team members better. These are more than just conversations about their sales goals or the projects they are working on that week, but a chance to learn more about their families, their personal goals, what motivates them at the core, their strengths, their fears and how they want to grow in the future. This knowledge is the baseline for bringing out the best in your team members.

Yes, there are general leadership principles that can be used for all team members. But it’s important to remember that leadership is about influencing and guiding people – all of whom are different and will require slight adjustments from you.  The sooner you can embrace that and get to know your agents and staff on a deeper level, the faster and more effectively you’ll be able to help them grow

Know when to push your team members and when to hold back 

It’s so important to really know and understand your team members and what is going on in their lives in order to challenge them at just the right time, and also to give them some space when needed.

For example, if you know your buyer’s agent has some big financial goals they want to hit before the end of the year, yet they are getting distracted by the latest social media trend, get on them! You know what’s important to them, you know they just need a little redirection. Challenge them to hit their year-end goal two months earlier than expected. Why not? You know they can handle it and get motivated and inspired by big goals. 

On the other hand, if you have a listing agent who’s new listings taken are a bit lower than normal, but you know they are experiencing some family issues, it may be the time to hold back and give them a little grace. Talk to them about how you can support them to hit their goal in less time. Or maybe they need to adjust their expectations and yours over the next three months. 

Regardless of the situation, you wouldn’t know when to push and when to pause if you weren’t aware of their personal and professional priorities and obligations.  Not to mention, there are some team members who become their best by being pushed and others who resist and retreat if they are pushed to hard.

Again, not all leadership tactics work the same on all team members. To bring out the best in your team, you have to know and work with the individual.

Teach your team members about time management  

If you want to bring out the best in your team members, then you need to teach them about the importance of good time management. Yes, it’s about working less and getting more done (if that is what they want). But, more so, it’s about helping your agents and staff truly understand that time is all we have.

I’m not going to deny that hitting certain revenue goals and profit margins isn’t important. Because it is! We’re running a business after all! But what I am going to say is that money (beyond a certain point) is not going to increase your team members’ level of happiness. It’s not going to significantly increase their quality of life or bring out the best in them. 

What will increase their quality of life is prioritizing time over money. What will bring out the best in them and those around them is if they are purposeful about how and where they invest their time. Are they in alignment with their strengths and interests? Are they intentional about their daily activities so that they are receiving the best ROI on their time? Do they have a daily routine? Are they following their calendar? 

Teaching your team about time, time management, and creating more margin in their life for fulfilling experiences will not only bring out the best in your team members, but inevitably they will see more financial success than before. Win-win! 

Encourage authenticity  

If you really want to bring out the best in your team members, then you must encourage them to be their authentic, best selves at work and at home. Employees and agents today, more than ever, want to be able to bring their whole selves to work – whether that is their love for reality TV, meditating before sales calls, or taking Friday afternoons off to work at their children’s school.

Their best self is their true self. As a leader, if you can cultivate an environment of authenticity, you will be creating a company where your team members are thriving, where they find meaning in their work, and where they are able to truly be their best selves. 

And finally, to really bring out the best in your team, you have to show up every day as the best version of yourself. Self-leadership precedes leadership.

When you focus on your own growth first, and then sharing your lessons, challenges, and successes with those around you, you are encouraging them to do the same. That is the ultimate example of influential leadership and the best way to bring out the best in your team. 

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Livian, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s companies and culture here.

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