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As I have learned from closely studying the trajectory of countless exemplary leaders, the key to outstanding leadership hinges on recognizing opportunities where others only see risk, having the grit to carry out your unique vision, and inspiring others to follow in your footsteps. 

By following these principles, great leaders disrupt the status quo and revolutionize entire industries. This article delves into these fundamental attributes of exemplary leadership to provide a clear pathway to excel in the competitive real estate field. 

Great leaders seize unique opportunities

Great leaders understand the value of swimming against the current. Instead of entering an oversaturated market, they might take their chances on developing emerging technology, such as Elon Musk with electric vehicles.

Alternatively, they might dive head first into a market that many have soured, such as Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans, who invested $5.6 billion across 100 properties in downtown Detroit when the city was a few years from bankruptcy. 

The bet paid off handsomely for Gilbert, the CEO of the largest overall retail lender in the U.S., as Detroit is now booming, with major construction projects underway in the last few years. 

As Gilbert describes, “If you want to get ahead and build wealth, you have to get over your delusion that something only has value if you can measure it. You have to be willing to use spreadsheets. But you also have to be able to use your gut and your observations.

“Everything we’re doing down here (in downtown Detroit) is based on the concept of not measuring things. We believe in the long run and that we’ll create a lot of wealth from all this. But it requires a major league belief in doing the right things.”

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, encourages a similar approach to seize the opportunity to buy during the downturns, knowing that the bad times will not last forever. “Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy,” he advises. “Profit from folly rather than participate in it.” 

Great leaders define their purpose

Without a strong sense of purpose, many leaders fail to inspire their teams to take ownership and spearhead projects independently, limiting their company’s ability to achieve new heights.  

Amy Somerville, CEO of SUCCESS Enterprises, who has a remarkable track record of developing highly effective teams, elaborated on clearly defining your purpose as a leader. 

“Think of purpose as your GPS in the world of leadership,” she advises, “It guides you through tough decisions and unexpected bumps in the road, inspiring you to go beyond the ordinary. It’s not just about hitting targets or boosting the bottom line but about seeing your work’s impact on your team, your customers, and even the world.” 

Before SUCCESS Enterprises, Somerville held an executive role at RE/MAX, then built her real estate consulting company, Moment of Clarity. She subsequently joined Buffini & Company as vice president of professional development and industry engagement. This experience prepared her for her appointment as CEO of SUCCESS Magazine.

She says, “Through my experience, I learned that when leaders are genuine, self-aware, and open about their purpose, they build a solid trust bridge with their teams. This trust opens up conversations, encourages new ideas, and creates a culture where everyone feels empowered.” 

Without a strong sense of purpose and a clear vision, it’s easy for leaders to lose sight of the specific niche they are trying to fill in a given market. This can lead them to invest their time and energy in the wrong endeavors or result in their potential client base regarding them as too scattered or inconsistent with hiring.    

Great leaders promote collaboration

Great leaders are incredibly self-aware. They understand the impact of their words and actions on their teams and thoughtfully engage them. They make calculated hiring decisions, then take a back seat, allowing employees to grow into their roles and develop their unique working styles. This, in turn, fosters a culture that champions innovation and originality instead of micromanaging and fear of making errors.

Two top coaches in the real estate business, Melanie Klein and Emily Bossert, regard collaboration as “not just a buzzword” but “a strategic imperative” that can lead real estate agents to mutual success through more excellent networking opportunities and referrals. By pooling resources, real estate investors can also build projects on a larger scale. 

Along these lines, Somerville emphasizes learning the value of complementary personalities. She lives by the acronym L.I.V.E.: Lead, Inspire, Value, Empathize. The “empathize” part of it is of utmost importance to her.

She says, “My job as a leader is not to insist on my way but to get out of other people’s way, empowering them to do what they are best at and affirming them in their growth. I choose to facilitate an environment where the charge is not to ‘follow me’ but to ‘find yourself,’ creating a trust culture.” 

Why great leaders get ahead while others flounder

In closing, the mark of great leaders is not to hoard all the power for themselves but to empower others to grow their own sphere of influence. In doing this, they lay the groundwork for a network of strategic partnerships that will benefit the plethora of individuals involved while contributing to the well-being and culture of their team. 

That’s how great leaders keep succeeding while others fail to attract top talent and are, therefore, limited in what they can achieve. By creating a culture of trust, great leaders not only influence the companies they run but impact their communities at large, and it’s by joining their ranks that we can gradually change the world for the better.  

Victoria Kennedy is CEO of Atman Real Estate. Connect with her via email.

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