Here’s a fun story for you to bring to your next dinner party or Zoom meet-up: Wild horses don’t follow the strongest horse. Wild horses don’t follow the fastest horse. They don’t follow the youngest, fittest horse, nor do they follow oldest, most experienced horse. So, who do they follow?
Wild horses follow the horse that feels the energy of the group the most. The leader of the pack is usually the one that’s emotionally intelligent, sociable and energetically in tune with the needs of the horses around it. How cool is that?
So, what can we as real estate professionals and business leaders learn from wild horses? That energy is everything. It’s essential for leaders to pay attention to and manage their team members’ energy, as well as their own.
Start with yourself first
Like with most leadership strategies, you have to start with yourself first. A daily routine of meditation, journaling, exercising in nature and just relaxing and letting go of the outcome are all things I’ve implemented into my life in order to manage my own energy and show up as the best leader I can be.
When I approach each situation from this neutrality — with no emotion attached to the outcome, event or the person in front of me — I can serve each person or moment that unfolds with clear and intentional energy.
Tuning into my own energy first enables me to spot the energy shifts in my team members and make necessary adjustments before they even know they need them. You have to manage your own energy and then use that ability to stay neutral and clear-headed while keeping your finger on the pulse of your team.
It’s especially important to check your energy after each interaction with a team member. Here’s an example: Let’s say you just met with your director of sales, and the sales team is not hitting its pending numbers for the month — for the third month in a row. Naturally, you’re disappointed and know you’ll have to have a tough conversation about what needs to happen to turn the team around.
The conversation doesn’t go well. Ten minutes later, you have a meeting with your listing assistant for her performance review, which is stellar. You’re going to be offering her a promotion. Well, you can’t bring that negative energy from the first conversation into the second. It’s not fair to you or your assistant.
So, what do you do? You have to wipe the slate clean. Take 60 seconds to do some breath work. Get centered. Then, move into your meeting or interaction with a clear mind and an open heart to serve the next moment.
This can happen in reverse, too. You may have had an amazing conversation with a client and just secured a massive listing that you know will sell quickly and offer a large commission. That’s great! Even in this scenario, you have to clear your mind. Breathe, and get centered. Your next meeting or encounter may require a tough conversation or a celebration. Either way, you want to keep your energy neutral and operate from this centered state as a leader.
Now, what about your team?
Once you’ve learned how to manage your own energy and stay centered, you have to transfer some of that focus and attention to your team in order to stay one step ahead. Managing your team’s energy is just as important as managing your own.
For example, knowing when your team needs to get a little tough love, be pushed or incentivized is important. Perhaps you see them approaching the finish line of a certain goal and know they are going to take their foot off the gas unless you add a little pressure or move that finish line.
While it could be frustrating for your team in the moment, ultimately, if you’re working with high achievers, they will thank you for it later. It helps the whole team rally around a goal and rise to the occasion.
Conversely, as a leader, you need to realize when your team members are approaching burnout, and spot it immediately. Have they been grinding for too long with very little rest and recovery? Encourage them to take a full day off and totally unplug.
Maybe some team members aren’t feeling aligned with their personal vision or their role. Maybe they’re thinking about a career change, which is why you feel the energy is off. This could certainly lead to a dip in morale. Watch out for these energy shifts, and then bring these issues to light.
Here’s a real-life example for you. Our real estate team in Vermont has been enjoying a few record-breaking months. The team has been hustling hard, staying extremely focused and doing whatever it takes to help clients move into their next homes.
Usually, Thursday nights are “team call nights.” They order in pizza, get on the phone and dial. However, the CEO of our Vermont team recognized that the team didn’t need to double-down and push even harder this week. What they needed was a bit of a break — and some fun!
So, this week, instead of a call night, they’re going to spend the afternoon hiking the Green Mountains and then cap it off by attending a local fundraiser we’re hosting to raise awareness for breast cancer research. If the CEO hadn’t made the call, the team would have likely pushed through and done OK, but how much more effectively will they be now after a little recharge?
That’s what leadership looks like. Saying “no” to something that will give you a 50 percent return now in favor of something that will give you an 80 percent return later.
Energy management is so important to creating a highly productive, joyful and impactful business and life — for yourself and your team. Leaders, if you aren’t paying attention to your energy and the vibes you’re giving off, start now. A leader’s behavior (whether it’s conscious or unconscious) influences everything.
Your team is watching you. They are watching what you say, and more importantly, what you do. Are you watching your energy? Are you exhibiting the behavior you want your team members to follow? Start watching your energy, and make adjustments along the way. You’ll be amazed to see what an impact you can have.
Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies