An inbox that always grows, another urgent text, strategic sessions competing with critical family time, and a past client that can only work with you: all are common pressures for those in real estate leadership. Does it take careful planning just to exit the building without spending another 30 minutes answering questions from the team? If so, this article is for you.
The variety of skills, experience and success that create leadership opportunities often snowball into a life of unintended consequences. There are a variety of ways we create imbalance: too much work, too much control, or too much ego are frequent contributors.
Here’s a quick list to help you balance the workload as a leader; pick one to apply this week and two to execute over the next 30 days.
Provide permission to speak
We all need someone in our lives who isn’t afraid to challenge our actions, choices and ego. As a leader, you are probably visionary, articulate and persuasive. It’s not uncommon for life partners to have counter-strengths. Therefore the significant other may not be the best person for this role.
Permission to speak is a fast pass to challenge the leader when he may persist in doing something stupid, proud or counter to personal or organizational values. Maybe she is a friend who knew you before you were successful or a veteran leader from another industry.
Find someone who gets a clear view of your work and who isn’t afraid to speak up regarding your choices. You always take their call.
Add margin to the schedule
Take a look at your calendar over the next two weeks. There’s probably not a lot of uncommitted time available. One great calendar gift to yourself is margin.
Consider putting a buffer between every appointment or meeting. This is not your travel time. It can be five minutes or half an hour, but that is time that will refresh you and focus your energy. It has the equivalent power of one meeting being canceled every day.
Second calendar gift: Every December, pull out the industry events calendar for the upcoming year, then schedule your vacation times. There is much wisdom in a one-day per week, one weekend per month, and one week per quarter vacation rotation. Work less, accomplish more.
Transform to-dos into to-assigns
If you’re spending the bulk of your time as a do-er, then you are not performing well as a lead-er. Leaders are measured by what they inspire others to do, not what they do themselves.
Build the list of what needs to be done, reduce it to what is most important and ROI-valuable, then start delegating. Effective delegation means a clear assignment, a precise deadline and regular check-ins and feedback. That’s leading.
Perhaps the biggest way to win in this segment is to precisely assign, fully empower and appropriately compensate a magical assistant.
Invest in energy
Leadership requires enormous energy. Vision, relationships, sales, conflicts, speaking and forecasting require intense effort to perform well. Extroverts, go to the party. Introverts, find your book.
Make sure you are investing in your own energy even as you spend it in leadership. Whether it’s an early morning workout, quiet minutes before dawn, a midday walk, talking with friends, or attending the concert, stay committed to these rechargers daily, weekly and monthly. Invest in what energizes you. Yes, it has to be on the calendar.
Success speaks softly; problems scream for attention. Leadership is never done, and therefore, it can be difficult to believe that we have accomplished something. Every day seems to end with incomplete tasks and extended deadlines.
As you invest in others, though, every day can have elements of success. Reflect on who advanced, what project improved, and positive feedback from team members or clients.
It’s important to write down or reflect upon three wins you can see at the end of each day. It’s a habit that will clear the mind and set up positive energy for tomorrow.
Leaders have a desk at the junction of clients, agents and employees. Being in the center of the action every day can lead one to conclude that “it all depends on me.”
You make enormous contributions to your brokerage, company or franchise. But if you retire tomorrow, someone is still going to sell real estate that very same day. Promise.
Problems can actually be solved without you. Letting go appropriately and in a timely manner is critical to balancing the workload. Others will step up, and you can step out. Really, it’s OK.
Spinning plates, changing the industry and delivering for your team. That’s the job. It’s a great one, too. Just remember to keep the workload human. It’s OK to take care of you.
Kevin Woody is the COO of both Chappell, an innovative residential real estate team with Compass, and Reroute Marketing in Raleigh. He encourages and equips people to reach high for their aspirations and grow deep to achieve them.