Treat Employees as if They Were Volunteers
This is why top-down styles of leadership that involve barking orders at people are generally ineffective. As my dad once put it to me, “You should treat all of your employees and contractors as if they were volunteers.” Even if something is an order, you should phrase it in the form of a request. “Could you repair that A/C?” or something like that. Sure, you will have bad employees, contractors, and other vendors who you might have to get tougher with. Indeed, you may have to let them go. Anyone in business for long enough will eventually have to fire someone. But with any good employee or contractor, acting as if their work is voluntary and trying to persuade them over to your way of thinking is far better than simple orders. After all, employees can quit and contractors can find work elsewhere. So in a way, they are volunteers.
And this goes for more than just orders and requests. It can come down to simple appearances
How This Relates to Real Estate Investors
If you’ve had some success in any business, I can tell you that there is no better way to build resentment in your staff or colleagues that by constantly bragging about that success—either implicitly or explicitly. You may be able to afford a Lexus, but if you drive it to work each day with it, you will probably create at least a little resentment. That being said, this isn’t universally applicable. If you are a real estate agent working with high-end clients on luxury houses, than you may need to fit the stereotype of a “high-flying” agent. In that case, a Lexus will help.
But generally, you don’t want to appear unseemly both in how you dress as well as how you act (and what you talk about). Sure, you want to look good and professional, but keep it within reason.
Furthermore, if you are lazy or temperamental, that will rub off on others too. I remember in a business class I had back in college that the professor noted a large study showed the most important thing a leader could do is “model the way.” Namely, if you want your employees to work hard, working hard yourself is the first step. If you act lazy and expect the world from them, you can expect they will become resentful. And if you lose your temper, you can expect that either they will lose their temper as well or hunker down and stop telling you important things.
On the other hand, even for new investors, it’s important to show respect to everyone you work with. This is how you win “their hearts and minds.” If people feel like they are being coerced or pressured into doing something, they will automatically become resentful. They may even stop or back out entirely. And even if they still go ahead and do the work, the work will be done with less enthusiasm and quality than it otherwise would have been.
On the other hand, if you treat people “as if they were volunteers,” you are basically asking them, “Do you want to do this?” If they go ahead and do it, they must have implicitly answered “yes.” If someone wants to do something, they will do it much better than they would have if they don’t.
In fact, if you can get someone else to take ownership of the idea, that is all the better. People will always put the most energy into ideas they came up with themselves. And while you may not be able to do any sort of Inception-style mind heists, you can at least sometimes get there by genuinely asking for other people’s feedback and brainstorming with them. Sometimes, they will come up with the idea you had originally or perhaps something even better. Either way, if they came up with it or at least augmented it, they will take more ownership and approach the execution of that idea with more enthusiasm.
So make sure to involve other people in your decision-making. Yes, sometimes you will have to just tell others what is going to be done. But the more of a consensus you can build beforehand, especially if you can get others to take ownership of such ideas, the better it will be executed.