Recently, while attending a real estate conference, I overheard a small group of professionals talking negatively about a colleague. Their opinion of the person was surprising. Especially when I learned they hardly knew him.
The moment led me to think about the word integrity. How style matters. How professionalism goes well beyond deal-making, accountability, and organizational skills.
In every profession, stories are told about people and clients where we make quick decisions despite little background knowledge or personal interaction. However, with the elements of time and experience, we learn to move away from this unsavory tendency of human nature.
My recent encounter served as a perfect reminder that we have the responsibility to not only manage our careers but also protect the reputation of others through what we say and do.
In a larger sense, we must set the standard for excellence in our interactions and be the best example for others to follow – including the next generation of future-minded leaders. Here are a few thoughts on how this starts:
- Take the necessary time to evaluate a person’s character. With this comes the unique opportunity to give people space to either prove us wrong or justify our initial beliefs.
- Rumors and speculation are a dangerous resource to rely upon. Do not mistake opinions for facts.
- While we compete for business, we must also collaborate and communicate to effectively close deals for our client’s benefit. How we handle these relationships is critical in any industry that relies heavily on personal interactions.
- Build and support a dynamic culture at your own office where everyone is treated with respect, and a positive mindset extends outside of your company. Higher standards will have an extraordinary impact.
Missed opportunities to evaluate someone’s character properly can have profound consequences. John Wooden said it best, “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.”
I am a firm believer that kindness always wins. Those early assumptions we are making about people can be shifted into an opportunity to cultivate open and direct communication. Lead with professionalism and give people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. You will be pleasantly surprised by what comes from it.