14 questions to ask yourself before becoming a team leader

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April is Teams Month here at Inman. Adding nuance on top of our weekly Teams Beat email newsletter, we’ll serve up top insights from the best team leaders across the country as we dig deeper into what it takes to build a team, scale it, and even leave one.

As the real estate market continues to evolve amid commission lawsuits and settlements, many agents are questioning the next steps in their careers. Some agents decide to join a team, some will merge teams, some choose to go solo and others contemplate going from solo agent to team lead.

The allure of leading a team is inspired by the opportunities for growth, impact and fulfillment that creating a team offers. 

For Jae Wu, co-owner of Heyler Realty, the decision to transition from agent to mentor was driven by a deep-seated desire to make a meaningful impact in the lives of others. “It took a few years of working in real estate for my clients when I felt the need to share it with others,” Wu said. “My purpose feels fuller when I share it with others.”

Manda Edge of King and Edge knew she was ready to lead a team because of a leadership journey shaped by a diverse range of mentors and role models.

“I have had the opportunity to work under multiple leaders and mentors,” Edge explained. “This experience has aided in my ability to navigate leading a team.”

“My leadership actually came from my mother and an earlier career in the male-dominated tech world,” shares Michala Costello of Curated Living. “It’s been a journey to redefine leadership on my own terms and lead along with my partner, Rob Lamb.”

For Claire O’Connor of O’Connor Estates, the transition to leading her own team was a natural evolution, driven by a desire for autonomy and a deeper sense of camaraderie.

“I felt a shift in my comfort levels as an agent,” O’Connor said. “Once I went out on my own, I missed the camaraderie of being on a team and found that leading my own group gave me that same camaraderie but with the autonomy to forge my own path.”

For Sara Evers of Moving Music City, the decision to transition from solo agent to team leader was born out of necessity — a realization that she could no longer sustain the relentless pace of working alone.

“I was a solo agent for the first nine years of my career,” Evers recalled. “But it got to the point where I was working constantly, often until 11 or 12 at night. I knew something had to change!”

Are you one of those agents feeling the pull to step into a leadership role within your real estate business

How can you be sure you’re truly ready to make this leap? We’ll explore five key points to consider when contemplating a leadership position within your real estate business. Each point is accompanied by thought-provoking questions to help you gauge your readiness and align your aspirations with the demands of leadership.

Experience and expertise

Building a successful real estate team requires more than just a track record of closed deals. It demands a deep understanding of the market’s intricacies, the ability to navigate complex transactions, a proven track record of delivering exceptional client results, and the experience required to lead other agents.

Meredith Alderson, broker associate and principal of The Heyday Group, knew she was ready to lead when not only was her production stable and consistent, but she felt she had significant knowledge and skill to help agents grow.

Consider your past experiences and achievements. Is your expertise robust enough to guide and mentor others effectively?

Questions to ask yourself

  • Have I consistently demonstrated success in my real estate transactions?
  • Do I possess in-depth knowledge of the local market and industry trends?
  • Do I understand the contracts thoroughly enough to guide agents through their difficult transactions?

Vision and strategy

A successful real estate leader is more than just a manager. They are a visionary capable of mapping the course for their team’s success. Take the time to articulate your long-term vision for your business. Can you clearly communicate your brand identity goals and aspirations to your team?

Additionally, consider the strategic initiatives needed to turn your vision into reality. Have you outlined actionable steps to achieve your objectives and overcome potential obstacles along the way?

Questions to ask yourself

  • Have I developed a clear vision for the future of my real estate business?
  • Do I have a strategic plan in place to achieve my goals and guide my team?
  • Can I articulate this vision and plan to new team members so they understand what the team stands for?

Communication and collaboration

Leading a real estate team requires strong communication skills to connect with clients, inspire your team, and navigate negotiations effectively. Consider your communication style. Do you communicate with clarity, empathy and authenticity?

Additionally, fostering a collaborative team environment is essential for success. Are you open to feedback, receptive to diverse perspectives, and committed to cultivating a culture of trust and respect within your team?

Questions to ask yourself

  • Am I skilled at effectively communicating with clients, colleagues and partners?
  • Do I value collaboration and foster a team-oriented environment?
  • Do I hide from conflict, or do I choose to have the difficult conversations that need to be had?

Mentorship and support

Reflect on your passion for mentorship. Do you genuinely enjoy investing in others’ success and helping them unlock their potential? 

As a real estate leader, your role extends beyond transactional expertise. You are a mentor, coach, and advocate for your team members’ growth and development. 

Consider the resources and support networks available to you. Do you have access to training, coaching and mentorship opportunities to enhance your leadership skills and navigate the challenges of leading a team effectively?

Questions to ask yourself

  • Am I passionate about mentoring and guiding others to achieve their full potential?
  • Do I have access to resources and support networks to assist me in my leadership journey?
  • Do I have the bandwidth to be proactive with my team members and ensure that I am mentoring them rather than just saying that I will offer something and fall short?

Adaptability and resilience

Leading a real estate team requires navigating uncertainty, pivoting in response to market shifts, and overcoming obstacles with resilience and determination. Consider your adaptability. How do you respond to change, innovation and emerging trends in the industry?

Additionally, reflect on your resilience. Do you possess the mental toughness and emotional resilience needed to persevere through setbacks, learn from failure and emerge stronger on the other side?

Questions to ask yourself

  • Am I able to adapt to changes in the market and industry landscape?
  • Do I have the resilience to navigate challenges and setbacks gracefully and determinedly?

As you reflect on these key points, remember that leadership is not just about title or authority. It’s about empowering others, driving growth and making a positive impact in the lives of your clients and colleagues.

Embrace the opportunity to lead with purpose and passion, and watch your real estate business soar to new heights.

Melanie C. Klein, M.A. and Emily Bossert are two highly sought-after coaches known for empowering individuals and teams to achieve their full potential and success. Together, they co-coach a 90-day group coaching program offering over 52 years of experience at the intersection of mindfulness, embodiment, conscious leadership and entrepreneurship.

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