If it’s January, it’s Agent Appreciation Month at Inman. Join us all month to celebrate all that agents do, and come together with us virtually at Inman Connect, Jan. 26-28. Craving total access? Take advantage of our Agent Appreciation Sale and save 50% on your Select subscription.
“The days of top down, command and control managerial leaders are a thing of the past. Today’s leaders are vulnerable, collaborative, aspirational, and inspirational. Today’s leaders are globally connected and community focused,” I wrote in an open letter to leaders.
Continuing on that thought train, today’s leaders are just as committed to their inner growth and spiritual lives as they are to spreadsheets and bottom lines. Today’s leaders are building empires and leaving legacies.
If you are a leader in charge of growing and developing other leaders, this can feel like a tall order. And it is. Leading other leaders is not something anyone should take lightly. It’s a responsibility and a privilege.
Often, we leaders look at top performers and assume that those are the agents we should be pouring into and developing into the next generation of leaders. But that’s not necessarily true. Great players (top real estate professionals) don’t always make great leaders, and that’s OK.
Take Michael Jordan, for example. Perhaps one of the greatest basketball players of all time with six championship wins. As an owner of the Charlotte Hornets, his record is less impressive. A great basketball player needs to become a different person to lead a team. Not everyone should go down that path.
That said, talented individuals want to grow, and they want to see their path toward additional income, exciting projects, more significant challenges and a bigger life. I like to start agents off with two options: the individual contributor path and the leadership path.
Individual contributor path
The individual contributor path looks like a top agent who loves sales, working with clients, negotiating, and closing deals but at some point will want some additional leverage in their life as they continue to crush the sales game. Great!
That might look like creating opportunities, either at the brokerage level or on the team, for them to have a showing assistant or a personal assistant to keep doing what they do best (and what they enjoy the most) — working with clients.
It’s all about leverage. It’s hard to hire and train staff, so give your individual contributors the leverage by taking this off their plates, and doing the hiring and training for them. Make your agents’ lives easier.
Now, let’s dive into the leadership path. The leadership path looks like someone who wants to achieve success through others. They don’t necessarily want to continue working with clients and would prefer to build a team of sales agents, operational staff and other leaders around them to handle the day-to-day business. One path is not better than another. They are simply two different jobs, and people gravitate toward one over the other.
Once you have identified which agents genuinely want to go down the path of leadership (or if they have raised their hand and expressed the desire to move down that path), the work begins for both of you.
If your agents have their minds on leadership and leadership on their minds, they’ve got to ask themselves if they are willing to change and grow into the person they need to be (which takes years of purposeful effort).
Ask prospective agent leaders the following questions. These are great questions to run through if you’re thinking about tapping an agent on the shoulder for a leadership opportunity. Heck, ask yourself if you are leading from this place too!
- Are you willing to go above and beyond the daily job requirements?
- Are you a team player?
- Are you willing to consistently put the good of the team and the company above your individual success?
- Are you leading yourself first by creating a daily routine of journaling, reading, meditating, exercise, etc.?
- Are you teaching others how to think differently by asking powerful and purposeful questions?
- Are you role-modeling the behavior of a leader?
- Are you adding massive value to others and intent on making someone else’s life better?
- Do people come to you regularly for leadership advice and guidance?
Were you able to answer “yes” to all of these questions about your agent leaders (and yourself)? Good. You’re on the right track. Did you discover that they still have some work to do? Great. It’s not going to be easy, but awareness is the first step. Now it’s about taking the steps needed to develop influence and build their leadership skills.
Here are some specific ways to grow agent leaders in your brokerage or on your team:
Host a book club
Your output is only as good as your input. Whether that’s a book club, audio series or podcast, getting agent leaders engaged in the conversation is vital. Let the books (or other content) do the heavy lifting.
You simply need to facilitate the conversation, ask great questions, and encourage your agent leaders to share both in the group and with others. That is leadership. Here are some fantastic book recommendations from readers, a list of 2019 top reads (a 2020 list is coming) and books for new agents.
Create an agent leadership council
Does your brokerage or team have an agent leadership council? Our Keller Williams offices and our team each have one. If you don’t, it’s a great time to tap into your agent leaders to create one.
The council’s responsibility is to weigh in on decisions that could affect all agents on your team or in your brokerage and proactively come up with ideas to better serve the company as a whole, including wellness challenges, additional administrative services, community outreach, to financial restructuring and more.
See who show ups and takes the lead on committees or initiative. Those are your future leaders at a larger level.
Host monthly leadership masterminds
Many brokerages and teams host agent masterminds where they dive into script practice, contracts, negotiations, best practices for prospecting, etc. But what about leadership masterminds? These mind-melds could be combined with monthly book clubs or not.
These masterminds are a great time to bring in guest speakers — from inside or outside the industry — to discuss topics such as how to recruit and hire talent, financial management, leadership principles, how to hold team members accountable, time management, personal growth plans and more.
Invest in coaching
Coaching is one of the best investments you can make in yourself or a team member — both in the short and long term. There are many different types of coaching — including sales and productivity coaching, life coaching, leadership coaching and more.
Agent leaders can benefit from a coach who challenges their thinking, calls them out on their bad habits and behaviors, encourages them to have uncomfortable conversations, and serves as a sounding board when the tough leadership decisions come up. A coach can help your agent leaders grow faster.
Focus on personal growth
I saved the best for last. Growing great agent leaders means that they first have to lead themselves, and the best way to do that is to create an intentional personal growth plan. Start with helping your agent leaders map out a morning routine, complete with success habits such as meditation, journaling, exercise, yoga and more.
From there, start building out the ideal daily schedule to maximize your agent leaders’ ability to learn, work and play daily.
True leaders are rare, and the world needs more of them. If you are in a position to develop other leaders, don’t take that responsibility lightly. Leadership is the ultimate test of vulnerability and perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give to the people around you.
When others are sitting back resting on their laurels, keeping their heads down and their mouths shut — be bold. Be brave. Stand up, and lead. And along the way, you will grow other leaders.
Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s holistic approach to business here.