“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” —Jack Welch

Because of the unique, highly-competitive, entrepreneurial nature of real estate, there is a natural demand for strong, motivational leaders.

Whether you’re growing your own, multi-billion dollar business or working for an already established brokerage, you will likely, at some point, to be thrust into a leadership role. To that end, it’s crucial to begin honing an effective leadership style. Of course, not all leaders have the same style. But one thing is for certain: the best leaders, typically, are those who put their teams, and clients, first.

Research shows that the vast majority of people put into leadership roles do not have “natural” leadership qualities. Which means, they need to learn how to be effective leaders. Here are six traits that help define effective leaders:

  1. People-focused.Remember the adage: what goes around, comes around. If your team knows that you have their backs, and are there to support, mentor and coach them, they are certain to respond, and to look after you as well. When you look after your team members and co-workers, they look after you.
  2. Good listeners. Managers often make the mistake of thinking their job is to issues directives, make decisions, and appear strong. They lose sight of the fact that people want to be heard, and acknowledged. One of the most effective ways to gain buy-in for any decision or issue is to get input from your team members, and thoroughly hear what they are saying, even if you don’t agree.
  3. Engaged communicators.You must be able to communicate your ideas and plans directly and clearly. In the same vein, employees want to hear news from you first, not through water-cooler gossip. Foster a culture that encourages a healthy exchange of ideas that help your co-workers truly feel like they’re part of a winning team.
  4. Fair- From a young age we’re taught to “play fair” right? Recognize that every employee has a different style but set accountability standards that are fair to all. How you enforce these standards for one, you must enforce for all. Your team members will respect you for playing fair.
  5. You’re not going to have the answers to every problem and issue that crops up. Be confident and comfortable enough to get input from others, instead of thinking that getting input suggests you are weak or ineffective. Showing confidence, and humility, inspires the same in your team.
  6. Your job as a leader is to set the vision, and the tone for your business, then inspire your team to move toward that vision. Encourage them to grow, and when they succeed, be generous with your appreciation and praise. We all work for a paycheck, but singing someone’s praise to the rest of the team goes a long way toward fostering a culture that is almost guaranteed to succeed.

The quote below from the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, perfectly sums up the qualities that define a great leader:

 “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” —Lao Tzu