Thinking like a leader does not require a top-down approach. You want to be at the bottom of the pyramid, supporting all of your agents and team members above you. Work up, not down, writes Livian CEO Adam Hergenrother.

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Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Livian. He believes that business is nothing but a conduit for personal growth and embraces the company’s vision to Love How You Live. When he’s not leading and growing his organizations, you can find Adam either in the mountains or out in nature with his wife and three children.

If you’ve got leadership on your mind, then this article is for you. Whether you have the formal title of CEO or something else, like director of operations, president, founder, team leader, or rainmaker, is not particularly relevant for this conversation.

What is important is understanding core leadership principles. It’s also imperative to understand the necessary qualities and activities needed to operate as a senior leader in an organization or on your real estate team

Thinking like a CEO requires a commitment to personal and professional development. The work of a leader is never done because you must stay 10 steps ahead of the rest of your team.

If you aren’t leveling up your leadership, then you will be left behind. Some key traits of successful leaders include resilience, stamina, high IQ and EQ, confidence, ambition, humility, vision, presence and trustworthiness. When you cultivate those qualities and combine them with the following four tactics, you will be thinking and leading like a CEO in no time. 

Create energy and momentum

Energy is everything. This is what attracts people to your organization and inspires them to continue to show up and do the work at a high level.

The three key things a leader must do is share the vision; provide clarity, focus and direction; and make high-quality decisions. Energy, and the momentum it creates, helps you tackle all three of these.

Leaders must share the purpose (the vision) and then share the plan (clarity, focus and direction) on how to get there. If critical decisions must be made along the way, they do that too.

Thinking like a CEO means that you are highly attuned to your energy and the energy of your team. You have an energy management practice, such as a morning and evening routine. You practice getting centered and building your mental and emotional fitness.

Remember, the energy of the leader is the energy of the company. You will have to get your energy and mindset right before you can move ahead successfully with any other leadership principle.

Teach others how to think

You’ve all heard the proverb, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” 

The same concept applies to thinking. The greatest gift you can give to someone else is to teach them how to critically and strategically think for themselves. This starts with you, the leader, not having to prove that you are the smartest person in the room or that you have all the answers (even though you might).

Instead, practice the art of asking powerful questions. Challenge your employees and agents to think about a client conversation or marketing strategy from a different angle.

You do not want to be the answer to people’s questions. Get people to tell you what they are going to do by asking a lot of questions. Authorship is ownership. When your agents have a hand in determining the next best course of action, then they will be that much more inclined to see it through and own the outcome. 

Empower your team to own their roles and decisions

Although one of the most important things a leader does is make decisions, as a leader, you don’t actually want to be making many decisions at all! When you think like a CEO, you are going for quality over quantity here.

In theory, you’ve already taught your team how to think critically and make good decisions. The next step is to delegate decision-making authority to various agents and team members so that they own the respective decisions in their positions.

This is one more step on your leadership journey and theirs. When in doubt, just ask clarifying questions to help guide your agent to a viable solution. They will eventually land on what to do next, all without you having to decide. Thinking like a CEO is all about empowering others to make decisions and lead.

Create opportunities for your team

Thinking like a CEO means that when you wake up, you’re not thinking about yourself. You are thinking about your agents and your staff. You start your day by thinking about how to best serve them and help them accomplish their goals.

Create financial opportunities and incentives that are win-wins for each of you. This will help you keep your team members top-of-mind. When they win, you win — and vice-versa.

Thinking like a leader does not require a top-down approach. You want to be at the bottom of the pyramid, supporting all of your agents and team members above you. Work up, not down. This is a mindset shift for most leaders, but perhaps one of the most important things you can do to build a culture of growth and opportunity for all. 

Thinking like a CEO is a sequential process. You must create the right energy to attract and engage talented team members who want to learn how to think more strategically, who will in turn feel empowered to own their roles and decisions, which will lead to you and them to creating more opportunities and win-wins for everyone. 

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Livian, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s companies and culture here.

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