A New Era of Workplace Leadership Is Rising

March 27, 2018

Today’s successful workplace leaders strike a balance between strength and determination with empathy and understanding, says Don Rheem, author of Thrive By Design: The Neuroscience that Drives High-Performance Cultures (ForbesBooks, 2017), and CEO of E3 Solutions, a provider of workplace metrics and manager training. As a broker-owner, your agents and staff members need someone they trust rather than someone who simply brandishes a title or threatens punitive consequences to achieve authority, he adds.

A strong and effective leader certainly stands at the top of a hierarchy, but great leaders today don’t act hierarchically,” says Rheem. “While people thrive under great leaders, in today’s business world they are also looking for a safe haven work environment where respect, trust, and encouragement are bedrocks of the work culture.”

Rheem suggests three ways a real estate company leader can get people to follow, and do so without being punitive and domineering.

Never treat agents and staff like children. The pressure for achievement can be intense in real estate. When mistakes are made, tempers can flare. “Frustration and anger are powerful emotions, and when leaders get flooded with these feelings they typically fall into a model of leadership and accountability deeply embedded in their memories—parenting,” says Rheem. People do not want to be patronized or treated like children. These tactics won’t inspire agents to thrive, especially among the current generation entering the workplace. “That’s bad for morale, damages the culture, and encourages turnover,” Rheem says.

Come from a place of positivity. “A leader who cultivates a positive culture can reap myriad benefits,” says Rheem. Dr. Kim Cameron at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, researched 16 different industries, and found a significant relationship between workplace “virtuousness” and improvements in profitability, productivity, quality, innovation, customer satisfaction, and employee retention. Virtuousness leadership qualities include forgiveness, compassion, optimism, and trustworthiness. “Leaders need to move away from the [Chief Punishment Officer] template,” Rheem says. “Instead, move to more brain-friendly modes as mentors, coaches, good listeners, and captains of positive recognition.”

Ensure other office leaders follow the same ethos. A positive company has to be echoed at every level of the enterprise, Rheem says. It’s key that broker-owners hold office managers and other leadership accountable for communicating the corporate culture and living the organization’s values, he adds. “Don’t let divergent microcultures or siloed departments hijack the enterprise’s culture,” Rheem says. “Having strong and effective leaders as managers creates the consistent conditions essential to healthy and sustainable workplace cultures.”

Source: Don Rheem, E3 Solutions