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A few qualities that leaders need to inspire their team and navigate volatility.

One really fascinating aspect of the real estate industry is that there is no singular path to success.

Every successful agent has their own unique sales style. Successful broker/owners all have their own unique recruitment style. And real estate leaders all have their own style of leadership.

At our recent leadership development event, Tanya Reu-Narvaez, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Realogy, shared more about the importance of talent and leadership development, and how What Moves Her and ASCEND: The Executive Leadership Experience, provide support and new strategies to leaders at all levels. Watch the video here.

Though every person in a leadership role brings their own experiences, knowledge, and traits to the job, there are several attributes that many successful leaders share. They include:

Being proactive: We all know real estate is an extremely competitive industry. You can’t wait for the phone to ring. You have to get out there and give customers a reason to call you. The same goes for leadership. Effective real estate leaders are proactive in every aspect of their work. An article in the Washington Business Journal put it this way: “Leaders are proactive in how they think…and in where they invest their time and energy.”

Proactive leaders will:

  • Identify creative solutions to stay connected with referral partners and past clients
  • Regularly stay in touch with top agents for recruitment purposes
  • Stay on top of the latest real estate trends & market trends in their community
  • Leverage technology to help them stay ahead of the curve

By staying proactive, and addressing issues head-on instead of waiting, you’ll always be in a position to act. And taking action is what leaders do best.

Authenticity and Integrity: These two traits are central to the core of not only how you present yourself, but how you truly live your life. Leaders who are authentically themselves have words that are consistent with their actions. But Harvard Business Review says you need to take it a step further – adding that you must also find common ground with those you lead. Additionally, having integrity is important, especially in real estate. A leader with integrity “does what’s right, even if that isn’t the best thing for the current project or even the bottom line.”

As Sue Yannaccone, President and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group, says in this episode of the Explore Expert Conversations Podcast, “At the core of [What Moves Her] is showcasing authentic leadership. Women who are doing what they do, their way, and having success doing it. We have a lot of women in this industry that are doing amazing things and… we don’t always have really honest conversations about what it takes as a woman… to really do it authentically.”

Resilience:  It’s easy to lead when everything is going well. What is far more difficult is to effectively lead through tough, challenging times. The past two years have demonstrated the importance of resilience—aka the ability to thrive in the face of adversity. Harvard Business School Professor Nancy Koehn memorably describes it as “Resilience is the capacity to not only endure great challenges, but get stronger in the midst of them. This is such an extraordinarily important capability because we live in a world that’s one nonstop crisis, one calamity, one emergency, one unexpected, often difficult surprise after another, like waves breaking on the shore.”

For a particularly relevant discussion of resilience, don’t miss this What Moves Her® discussion between Sue and Liz Gehringer, President of Coldwell Banker Affiliate Business, and COO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC., on the topic of Resilient Leadership.

High Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is defined as “the ability to control and express your emotions, as well as handle interpersonal relationships.” Why is this important? Leaders don’t simply give orders. They need to inspire their team to do their best work. That simply cannot happen if the leader has low interpersonal skills.

Want to learn more? Emotional Intelligence is a topic we’ve covered fairly in-depth here on our blog just a few months ago.

Personal Leadership Advice

Of course, these are only a few of the important qualities that leaders should possess. To gain more insights, we’ve asked leaders from different perspectives in the industry to share their personal thoughts on this topic.

First, we hear from Liz Gehringer, President of Coldwell Banker Affiliate Business, and COO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC.

What is the best piece of leadership advice you ever received? 

Do your best B work. When I was far too overwhelmed by being a perfectionist lawyer in our legal department, Realogy’s general counsel told me to let go of doing A work on every task and project. She was teaching me to prioritize, to let go, to spot the big issues and put my attention there. It was a great choice of words, because lawyers tend to be A students. She loved a jarring point. It really hit home with me and helped me pull myself toward the areas that really needed me and away from others. I’ve taken it with me in terms of delegating work or cutting work we don’t need to do as a team, and I’ve expressed to my team that it’s ok for us to apply varied levels of time, attention and cost, and that constant re-assessment of our focus is acceptable. But also, it represented a shift in perspective, which is a real key to next level thinking.

What traits or skills do you think every leader in real estate needs?

In real estate and in every people business you have to actually like people! At the macro level, the business should develop with what’s best for the home buyer or seller as the ultimate goal. Do right by them. Get them great service backed by great tech in the hands of expert agents. At the micro level, enjoy the agents! They are the primary product delivery mechanism and an extension of your brand or company. Recruit the best who align with your culture and retain them with genuine care and attention to their career. Keep people first at every level and the rest will follow.

Next, Dawn Perry, SVP of Strategic Cross-Brand Marketing at Realogy, shares her thoughts.

What is the best piece of leadership advice you ever received? 

Embrace situational leadership – just because a person is a high performer in their current role and can work independently to success doesn’t mean they can be managed the same way on every new initiative. You need to learn to ask the right questions to decide if you should provide more direction or even provide more freedom for creativity.

What traits or skills do you think every leader in real estate needs? 

Not just in real estate but in all aspects of life — the key to great connections, meaningful relationships and success is the ability to ask meaningful questions, really listen to the answers and then not be afraid to ask even more questions to strive for full understanding.

Now It’s Your Turn

Let us hear your best-inspired leadership story. What leadership traits do you think are the most important? Do you agree with our suggestions above? We’d love to hear how you were inspired by strong leadership in your career.

Email us at or share with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram, – we want to hear your story.