Pulse is a recurring column where we ask for readers’ takes on varying topics in a weekly survey and report back with our findings.

Not all leaders are created equal. Bad leadership can make it difficult to move forward, get things accomplished, and trust new better leaders when they come along.

We asked about a time when someone who was supposed to be a leader to you let you down, undermined you or even purposely hung you out to dry. You shared with us your leadership horror stories, along with the ways that you overcame those bad experiences.

  • Earlier in my career I worked at an independent brokerage started by a bold, independent woman. She was self-made and ambitious, and I learned some valuable skills from her (I made up the word ‘scraptitude’ about her). She was very supportive of me–until I started to feel like a threat to her. I started hearing things like, ‘That’s not your place’. Indeed it wasn’t. When I left for a different brokerage she was so angry, ‘After all I did for you!’ she said. She promptly blocked me on all social media, and so I’ve heard started talking about me. Ah well. I’m still grateful for her support and the lessons learned.
  • I worked for a real estate association and some catty co-workers started a false rumor that I was having an inappropriate relationship with the (male) CEO. When I reported it to him, several times verbally and once in writing, the only thing he did was put my complaint into the hand of our in-house attorney who was complicit in the harassment. It completely destroyed all respect I had for him as a leader and I left the organization.
  • When I was an Executive Admin for a team with KW, the team leader had me build his websites, team, everything according to the MREA. He never prospected so there wasn’t much to offer agents joining. One day he came into my office, stuck his feet up on my desk and said, “Ya know…Jesus used to wash the feet of his slaves as a gesture of servant leadership. I’m never going to wash your feet.” He fired me shortly after for taking bereavement leave when my grandfather died. I was devastated, but I believe in seeing things as learning experiences. This would throw me into one of the worst times in my life. My husband and I had just closed on our first house (2008) and I found out I was pregnant a couple of weeks later. I couldn’t work through a rough pregnancy and we almost lost our house because my husband got laid off, too. It gave me no choice but to start my own business. By 2012, I had built a huge flipping business and as a single agent owned 21%+ of the listings in two counties and 13% of all sales within those two counties. I walked into a listing on brokers’ tour one day that happened to be his. He went white when he saw me. Not knowing what I’d do, he started stammering that he followed my career and was super proud of me. So I walked up to him, gave him a hug and told him, “Thank you. Because If you had never forced me to find my talent as an agent by forcing me out of my comfort zone as an admin I may still be there today.” I may also add, knowing what it feels to be like from the support side I do everything I can to show my support and agents exactly how much they’re appreciated.

We want to hear from you. Tell us about your bad leadership experience, and what you learned from it in the comments below.

Editor’s note: These responses were given anonymously and, therefore, are not attributed to anyone specifically. Responses were also edited for grammar and clarity.

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