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Today’s Ask the Expert column features Bill Scavone, president and COO of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

Q: How much of a factor do you think leadership plays in recruiting and motivating the best agents and the successful growth of a brokerage? 

A: It’s a big factor; in fact, it’s the main factor. I played football through college, and the game taught me a lot about leadership. I learned the best teams have great leaders—a parallel that rings true in business. Strong leadership is the driving force behind any successful team, including a real estate organization. It also helps attract potential agents and plays a pivotal role in the retention and development of the most talented ones.

Unfortunately, most real estate companies place an emphasis on managing instead of leading. But there’s a big difference between leaders and managers.

Leaders inspire and motivate their agents to do what it takes to stand apart from the competition. They exemplify real estate success and set the course to help others get there. Leadership is about getting people to understand, buy in and believe in the vision, and working with them to achieve those goals. Managing is about executing and making sure the day-to-day things are happening as they should.

Leaders set the tone. They lead by example and know where they’re going. Leaders have a purpose and exude confidence. They listen, have a positive attitude, do the right things, are influencers and make everyone around them better. These traits attract people who are eager and excited to follow them. Strong leaders create a winning culture that’s contagious. My college football coach used to say to us offensive linemen that we set the tone for the team. We were motivated, we had a clear purpose and vision, and knew where we wanted to go. Our coach was a great leader, and he made leaders of many of his players. Sure, he told us what to do, made us do it and—in some cases—let us have it for messing up. But what he also did was clearly articulate our mission and provide us with core values we all bought into and lived by. Our coach got us to understand the “why,” then managed us by showing us the “how.”

So, what can brokers do to lead instead of manage? At Weichert®, we start by sharing our core values with our Affiliates and encourage them to recruit agents who share those same values. It’s also critical that brokers and their hiring managers clearly communicate to prospects what the organization can do to help them succeed.

Your company’s vision, integrity and reputation are key factors in attracting and keeping new and experienced agents, as well as customers. If you don’t have a vision and know the direction you want your business to head, you can’t expect people to follow you.

As a franchisor, you need to provide all the things necessary to help your brokers develop the leadership techniques to build a high-functioning office. At Weichert, we provide top-level leadership training to help our brokers concentrate on the key behaviors and activities that positively impact their bottom line, and coach them on creating action plans to help recruit top-notch agents and develop existing talent.

A brokerage with strong leadership sells itself. It attracts people who want to be around other successful and motivated people and creates a winning team atmosphere. In order to engage your agents in providing the best service, you have to give them a winning game plan—one that gets them excited about where you’re taking them while making sure they know what’s in it for them. By doing so, you create an unbeatable competitive edge.

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