5 Leadership Mistakes You Must Avoid
Every successful investor has a core of people around them. Whether you close a deal a month or a deal a year there are a handful of team members essential to your success. How you work with them will often influence just how strong your business is. There is a fine line in any business between giving your team space to work and driving to get the best out of them. By finding the right balance you will find your team will not only work harder but go out of their way for you when an unexpected problem pops up.
There is no question that a self-employed real estate investor is the leader of a team. You stand to make the most profit on a given deal, so you need to accept the lions share of the responsibility. The goal should be to work with your team, not against them. Here are five leadership mistakes every investor needs to avoid.
- Not being open to new ideas. The single biggest turnoff that most employees have is working for, or with, someone who thinks they know everything. These people always have the perfect solution to any problem and know more than a professional in their area of expertise. As an investor you are the final decision maker and dictate where the transaction goes. That being said, you need to be willing to listen to the people around you, even if you don’t always agree with them. That doesn’t mean you need to change your opinion every time you hear something new. It means that you give your team enough courtesy and respect to be open to new ideas. What we have learned in real estate is that something that worked last month, may not work today. Your team may be ahead of the curve if you are willing to listen.
- Trying to do everything. It is not good business to run around and do everything yourself. Even if you are physically able to, it will eventually catch up with you and wear you down. Your goal shouldn’t be to close a one-off deal and bask in your glory. You should try to build a sustainable business that can stand the test of time. By doing everything yourself you will get stretched too thin and slowly burn out. You will end up missing or overlooking items that you would normally catch. All it takes is one slip up or oversight to spill over to the rest of your business. This could impact a deal, a relationship or ultimately your bottom line. As much as you may think you are indestructible you will find you are not. Taking on too many tasks will start to influence how you evaluate deals and whether you are willing to go the extra mile like you know you should. It is ok to take a step back and let your team do what they do.
- Poor communication. It sounds simplistic, but communication is the key to a healthy team. Before you start a job or enter into an agreement you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page. We are in such a rush to get things done that we often overlook the obvious. Spending just a few extra minutes on the phone or in a meeting can save you weeks of headache down the road. It is also essential that you stay in contact all the way throughout the project or for the duration of a deal. If you look at your phone it is eye opening at just how brief a conversation really is. In most cases, you can get whatever you need to communicate in less than three minutes. For just three minutes you can reassure someone on your team or simply make them feel like they are an important part of the process. On the flip side, if you go dark on them they won’t be confident or comfortable in their action and everything else will suffer.
- Micromanaging. As much as you may want to know what is constantly going on, you need to back off and let things breath. There is a difference in staying on top of things and being overbearing. You should always spend more time putting a good team in place than following up with them. Nobody likes being told what to do and how to do it all the time. Your real estate agent, contractor, attorney and mortgage broker are all professionals at their craft. As much as you think you know there is a good chance they know more. You can offer up suggestions but leave it at that and they them do their job. If not, they will eventually tire of the overbearing presence and find other people to work with.
- No personal contact. You can’t be all business all the time. Many investors will tell you that they don’t like to get too close to their team in the event of turnover. The truth is that if you take the time to create personal relationships you won’t have to worry about that. It is ok to ask about their family, their kids, any passions they have and things outside of real estate. People you have a connection with will work harder, longer and better for you. All it takes is a few personal questions to build a relationship and develop a rapport.
With a few easy tweaks you can change the way you lead and interact with your team. Not only will this make your life easier, but your business much more productive.