Thoughts on Leadership: Temperature Check for Leaders

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first in Northern California then off to Denver for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate’s Appreciation Night with Broker/Owners Scott and Lora Nordby and members of the Innovative Real Estate team. It was a fantastic event and I’m thankful I packed appropriately—temperatures in Denver dropped to 29 degrees!

Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, with Scott and Lora Nordby, broker/owners at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate in Denver.

From Denver I traveled to Palm Springs for AREAA’s Leadership Summit. (To give you a temperature comparison, it was 83 degrees yesterday in Palm Springs and 90 degrees today.) I was fortunate to speak on a panel about leadership while at the AREAA conference, but more on that to come …

Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, at the AREAA Leadership Summit in Palm Springs.

From AREAA I traveled to Anaheim and spent time at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties’ Reimagine 2018 event with Mary Lee Blaylock, California Properties president and CEO, and the California Properties team. (Temperatures in Anaheim were in the mid-80s today if you’re wondering.)

Mary Lee Blaylock, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, takes the stage at Reimagine 2018 in Anaheim, Calif.

Mary Lee is a fantastic example of inspiring, innovative leadership, just the kind I spoke about at AREAA in Palm Springs. On the panel, I was joined by Cerita Battles, senior vice president and diverse segments national sales manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Jason Gesing, CEO of eXp Realty. The panel was expertly moderated by Randy Char, president of Char Luxury Real Estate and 2018 AREAA national president. The first question he asked me was: “What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?”

I told him and the group to lead by example. I said it was the most basic rule of leadership yet the one that is the most violated. Think about kids. Many times when their parents speak to them, they don’t say anything, they just observe. There’s that famous line, “monkey see, monkey do” and it’s not “monkey hear, monkey do” for a reason.

I also told them to remember this: The leader is always on stage. In addition, I said the No. 1 impediment of any organization rests in the hands of the leader. There aren’t any exceptions to this rule. That’s why the greatest leadership challenge is leading yourself; leaders are always difficult followers but you must learn as a leader to be a great follower.

I also said leaders must be the most disciplined, the most consistent, the most humble, the most serving, the most persistent, the most authentic, the most service-oriented and the most personally developed. I used the often-quoted phrase, “The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack” to explain that people don’t go as fast as they can, they only go as fast as the leader.

I remember when Usain Bolt won the 100-meter race during the Olympics but what most people don’t remember is that the second-, third- and fourth-place runners all broke the world record during that race. When they were asked why they all ran so fast they basically said, “We were just trying to catch him.”

So, what’s the message? In order to be a great leader—whether you’re just starting out in a leadership role or have been leading a team for decades—you must focus on the things you can control like your mindset, your ability to lead by example, your discipline, your focus, your authenticity and ability to connect. Because just like temperature, the environment in which we lead is constantly in flux and we must navigate these changes and challenges as we strive to accomplish our goals.

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