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CRE Opinion

Leading a Brokerage Firm in Today’s CRE Landscape

Six tips from Colliers' executive managing director Daniel Taylor.
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Commercial real estate doesn’t look the same as it did a year or two ago. Between the pandemic and the ever-changing market of Dallas-Fort Worth, outstanding leadership is more critical than ever for brokerage companies. The industry has so much potential to expand in Texas and to stay ahead of the curve is where leadership makes the biggest splash. There is no denying that walking in as a new brokerage leader for a top commercial real estate firm hasn’t had its challenges. However, many valuable lessons were learned to find a leadership style that fits this newer industry. 

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Daniel Taylor, Colliers

Find a recruitment and retention balance: As an executive coming into a new brokerage firm, my goal was to redevelop the company’s office culture. I knew I wanted to guide the company into something that was inclusive and participated in all the major service lines. Mentorship is a significant aspect of starting a successful career in commercial real estate, and executives sometimes must play that role or provide those resources to promising young professionals. Throughout developing strategies to recruit ‘young guns’ in the industry, giving resources to grow and be independent in the field is what’s attractive.

It’s also imperative to keep existing brokers happy and give them credit where credit is due. Keep your employees happy, listen to them, respect them and they’ll be loyal. The key lesson here –retention is just as important as recruitment.

Build trust: This can sometimes be easier said than done in many cases. Coming in as a new executive to lead several broker teams well established in their careers was a bit of a challenge. However, after taking the time to really listen and focus on their needs, I established a relationship and earned their trust. When leading a team of such strong talent in the market, it was vital for me to show empathy. While showcasing empathy towards team members is highly impactful, being a positive and supportive figure in the office goes almost further. 

Play to the strengths of support staff: As a leader, a lot is expected of you to keep up with responsibilities. Sometimes you have to be in a million different places all at once. In those moments, having qualified members as part of your support staff saves the day. Identifying what each team member excels at and allowing them to take ownership of tasks makes for a well-oiled machine in the workplace. Give your employees the resources they need and then get out of the way.

Stay involved: Coming from a more retail background in commercial real estate to a heavily saturated firm in the office and industrial space, I’ve learned from our brokers and expanded my expertise. It’s imperative to keep up with what the Dallas-Fort Worth market is doing in all aspects of real estate. Being a good leader goes beyond learning business plans; it entails understanding what’s going on in the economy and with your people and clients.

Create a vision beyond yourself: I came into my executive role knowing growth and establishing a positive office culture were my top goals. I quickly learned that creating a ‘vision’ or business plan for the firm far surpassed just me. A genuinely great plan includes incorporating all employees and satisfying clients. Brokerage is more than just making deals; it’s a people business.

Overall Style: Think of your organization as a sports team. As executives, we take on the role of head coach. To lead, we have to gain the respect and trust of our players. Playing to those players’ strengths and extending an ear for feedback makes for an overall cohesive vision and goal for the team. From there, let your players do what they do best and give them room to produce results. 

Daniel Taylor is Executive Managing Director of Colliers Dallas-Fort Worth.

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