Why Howard Hanna views middle management as crucial company leaders

President of the sprawling independent brokerage finds that the best sales managers can relate to an agent's lifestyle and what it takes to succeed

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The idea of big brokerage "leadership" is often associated with executives in the C-suite, vice presidents, regional directors and the like, but when Howard Hanna president, Howard "Hoby" Hanna, talks about developing leadership at the large privately owned real estate firm, he emphasizes the need to focus on middle management. "The bigger development challenge is the branch manager or sales manager," Hanna told Inman in an interview. When makes two branches of a company within a five-mile radius substantially different? "You put everything aside, and the reason is the leadership a lot of the time," said Hanna. Therein lies the importance of having solid managers heading up a brokerage office and working with agents on their day-to-day business. The development of leadership isn't easy, Hanna admits. It takes financial and time commitments by the company, which has 9,200 sales associates and 262 offices across Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Virginia, Michigan and North Carolin...