Monday, June 5, 2023 Jun 5, 2023
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CRE Opinion

Leadership Strategies For Sticking Together While Staying Apart

Michele Wheeler, president and COO of Jackson-Shaw, says the best way to stay connected involves gratitude and giving.
By Michele Wheeler |

As we approach the new year, it’s a good time to reflect on the importance of gratitude and giving. These last 10 months have changed how we live, work and play, but one key lesson we have learned from COVID-19 is that we can still stick together while staying apart.

Michele Wheeler

No doubt, the pandemic profoundly and directly impacts commercial real estate through quarantines, shutdowns, social distancing, supply chain disruptions, and loss of consumer confidence. CRE and the overall economy will rebound. The speed with which the country and the industry emerge from the crisis depends on the availability and adoption of vaccines, patience with masks and social distancing, monetary stimulus, and stabilizing the property types, markets, and projects.

“To whom much is given, much will be required.” If you have heard that sage quote, you know it means we are held responsible for what we have. If we have been blessed with knowledge, talent, time, and resources, it is expected that we use these gifts to benefit others. Although social distancing keeps us physically apart, it does not mean we are alone. There are countless opportunities to support others. Yes, celebrations, dinners with friends, and sporting events have mostly been canceled. However, compassion, kindness, and faith in humankind have not been postponed.

Here are some strategies we can take that reinforce this:

Show appreciation.

Sometimes the most effective things are the easiest. When did you last say thank you to someone in your organization for a job well done? Perhaps you do this regularly, in which case you should encourage others to do it as well. Taking the time to show gratitude makes others feel valued. It is also contagious behavior, and the more everyone does it, the more it becomes part of your culture. A study by Glassdoor found that 80 percent of employees are willing to work harder for an appreciative leader, and 70 percent said they would feel better about themselves and their efforts if their managers recognized them more often.

Invest where it matters.

Taking a moment to invest in others’ success is an excellent way to show them they are valued and that you care. It’s a great way to foster employee engagement, too. As an example, with contributions and support from our team members and from our Jackson-Shaw Foundation, we have provided clothing, supplies and other resources to Austin Street Shelter of Dallas, Boys and Girls Clubs of Dallas and Tarrant County, Highland Hills Community of Fort Worth, Presbyterian Night Shelter of Fort Worth, and Read Fort Worth.

Be a servant leader.

A classic concept coined in the early 1970s, a servant-leader focuses principally on the mentorship, well-being, and growth of people and the communities to which they belong. A servant leader empowers others. This differs from traditional leadership, which usually involves the accumulation and exercise of power by the one at the top.

The best way to develop an attitude of gratitude and giving is to practice it regularly. Think or write down three things you are grateful for each day. If you do this, you will be more fulfilled, positive, and energized. Things that matter most will increase in value. It is a win-win!

Michele Wheeler, president and chief operating officer of Jackson-Shaw, was named D CEO’s Commercial Real Estate Executive of the Year for 2020.


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