Opinion: Brokerage firms live or die by their leadership

Leadership matters. It matters at every level, and it matters more than you may realize. Leadership directly impacts agents’ success and your organization’s culture. When you hear the word “leadership,” most people immediately think CEO or President, but I would argue that these top-level leaders are not the most influential when it comes to culture.

A CEO may share their vision for what they want the culture to look like, but it is the local leader who will ultimately make or break the culture. Community culture is what the world experiences, so leadership matters at every level, but more so at the local level.

As the CEO of a brokerage with agents in over 120 markets across more than 36 states, I can see the direct result, or lack thereof, of a local leader’s impact on the business. As a result, I care deeply and passionately about creating a culture that places people above profits. But, while I share my vision for a culture built on servant leadership, the local leader must execute the vision.

There is a direct correlation between how well a local leader serves their agents and how fast their market center grows or dies. A market center’s growth can happen through recruiting, retention, and training. All three of these areas are positively or negatively affected by that local leader.

When you truly serve and love your agents, they will tell other agents about their experience and help recruit other agents to your office. Who can recruit more agents, one leader, or the larger group of agents in their care? I think the answer is obvious.

The same thing is true for retention. Agents are far more likely to ignore all the recruiting noise that bombards them daily if they feel connected and cared for locally.

The third area of ​​growth is training. Agents overwhelmingly want support and training to help grow their business. You can train agents virtually in mass, but it can never fully replace agents coming together for training and masterminding. Agents are people-people and need to interact more often than not.

I believe that you cannot build a culture in a vacuum. Brokerages who fail to hire local leaders suffer from massive agent attrition and poor culture. Even though Fathom Realty is a “virtual” brokerage, we employ local leaders in every market we serve. We charge our local leaders to help their agents one-on-one and physically bring their agents together regularly for training, social events, and community service.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply hire a local leader. You have to hire the right leader and then hold them accountable to the vision and their agents. We have regional leaders whose job is to ensure our local leaders have the resources and training to be their best and provide more outstanding service to their agents.

If you run a brokerage, I want to encourage you to think about how you can provide more excellent value to your agents. Stop being reactive to your agent’s needs and start being proactive. Never stop looking for ways to serve your agents better and show them you care.

If you’re an agent, ask yourself if your broker is serving you and not just their bottom line. Do they spend all their time recruiting and promising the world only to forget about you once you have joined? If so, remind them why the brokerage exists in the first place, and then if they fail to change, it is time for you to find a brokerage that will place people over profits.

Culture is vital, and while the executive team may plant the seeds of culture, it must be watered and nurtured by the local leader.

Josh Harley is the CEO and founder of Fathom Holdings Inc.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of RealTrends’ editorial department and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Josh Harley at josh@fathominc.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tracey Velt at tracey@hwmedia.com

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