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3 minute read

Understanding Your Role As A Leader

If you don’t understand your role as a leader, your business will be rudderless.

People who run businesses use various titles. In the real estate industry the term principal is still common. Working across various industries, the most common titles I encounter are chief executive and managing director – of those two, I prefer CEO, because I believe it is your role is to be the chief – to lead and not to manage.

So what is that role? At Shirlaws, we believe the role of the CEO of any business – including Principals of Real Estate Agencies – can be described in three simple concepts:

  • Set the context
  • Manage the energy
  • Coach don’t play

Set the Context

Set the context means it is your job to understand the “why” and know where you are going. You create the dream. Many principals are, in practice, just agents who have chosen to work for themselves rather than under another business. Those who are actually leading their agencies (and this industry) sit above and ahead of the day-to-day business.

In this space you are not worrying about specific listings – your team are running today. You hold the context so that every decision in the business is simple to make in a contextual, not content-driven, space. You understand where you are in your business lifecycle, understand and hold the business to the contextual choices you have made in terms of risk, market position, capacity planning and other strategic choices you have made.

Are you leading your business in a contextual space, or managing all of the content on your own?

Manage the Energy

Manage the energy means it is your job to create a compelling vision for your team. You sit above the business and your job is to “feel” your business like an organism and know when things are not right. It is to support the energy and enthusiasm of the team and the key relationships you have outside the business.

This is hard to do if you aren’t also leading contextually. When you are being pulled into day-to-day concerns, your energy will be confused. When you free yourself by building a team, you will also create the space for that team to grow.

Coach don’t Play

Coach don’t play means you’re not in the field anymore. While I understand the short-term requirements of many principals to be selling, even just one listing a month, this is not sustainable for growing your agency. The captain-coach role rarely exists in professional sport anymore – it’s become clear that players can’t see the bigger picture, and it can also create concerns that the coach is making decisions that favour themselves.

If you want to grow a business, you need to recruit a team. And your job is to build the confidence and skills of your team (over time) so that they have the ability and belief and are given the responsibility to play the game. You create the big picture and then support, observe and encourage. You coach. That way your team runs the operations of the business and you get to grow the value and scale of the business.

You’ll notice that none of these concepts say “run the business” or “deliver the bottom line”. That’s because to have your business work for you, you will need, in time, a senior team to do these management tasks for you.

For many real estate principals, that may not seem possible right now. You may be questioning your vision – how large an agency do you want to build? You may be questioning your capability – can you actually build that team? You may even be questioning your finances – can we afford to build that while still earning what you need to earn?

These are all excellent questions to ask – and exactly the sort of questions that leaders are able to answer.

What else would you add?

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