Taking the lead

2 July 2021


Well-known real estate industry leader Kylie Walsh shares her insights about leadership and how everyone can make a positive impact on those around them.

Everyone’s real estate journey is different. Even so, certain things are the same, regardless of the market you operate in or the size of your team. Your ability to pivot and change at speed, adopt best-in-sector technology and drive superior customer experience, all while recruiting better than your competitors, will inevitably impact your profitability, productivity and the sustainability of your people. And all of this requires strong leadership.

Following are just some of the leadership insights that have made an impact on me over recent years. Grab a coffee, keep an open mind and no matter what position you’re currently in, I’m sure something will resonate.

  • Make the hard decisions. As a leader, you need to recognise that good decisions aren’t always popular. Yes, it’s important that your team respect you, but please don’t think you have to be everyone’s best friend. This is hard for some people to grasp or even accept, but you must make the hard decisions. Remember, your team aren’t always involved in all the moving parts of the business and may not understand all the complexities you’re grappling with.
  • Stand by your decisions. Your team look to you for certainty and confidence, so don’t be indecisive. It’s okay to seek feedback. Leadership is often lonely, so pick up the phone and run something past another business leader for reassurance.
  • Stay true to your values and behaviours. Don’t say one thing and then do another. Your credibility and effectiveness as a leader will be jeopardised. Next time you ask the team to follow and trust in a decision this will be an important benchmark.
  • Be organised and ensure excellence in execution. This is critical as a leader. Always prepare for meetings, bring high energy and have a ‘gold nugget’ that offers value or professional development. If you own accountability yourself, execute on projects and be that inspiration, your team will follow.
  • Embrace technology. I used to say: “I don’t do technology. I let others do technology for me.” But I soon realised that if I didn’t do technology, technology would do me. If the team sees that I’m an early adopter who embraces the change, then they are less likely to be resistant and come on the journey.
  • Build trust and respect through consistency. Make it non-negotiable that every meeting you are part of has a set agenda, before you even accept the meeting request. Never cancel, move a meeting or be late. This was one of my biggest pain points as a franchisee and then moving into a corporate role as a franchisor. Nothing breaks trust and undermines credibility more than a leader who continually cancels or moves things – or, even worse, is a ‘no show’. Not to mention the fact that you look unorganised and out of control.
  • Understand that life continues beyond the workplace. It’s important to know your teams’ partners and children by name, and know what impacts them outside work. If their home fires are burning, then things are more likely to be okay at work. Take the time to have one-on-one coffee or breakfast meetings with your team throughout the year and show them the loyalty and respect you often demand. After all, it’s a two-way street.
  • Encourage others to be champions. Empower and encourage those around you to champion new ideas and projects. Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with leaders across not only the real estate industry, but other industries. Collaboration with successful people will always foster innovation and best in sector outcomes.

In short I like to think of leadership as your philosophy and legacy – so step up and own it, and celebrate the success of your team.

KYLIE WALSH is a well-known industry leader and the founder of RE Growth with Kylie Walsh. You can connect with Kylie at regrowthkyliewalsh.com

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