Upward leadership: 6 yoga-inspired strategies

— Weichert Franchise

As the real estate industry rides the ups and downs of the changing market, so can the leadership styles of real estate broker-owners. It’s easier to lead during good times, but how can you lead teams to greatness during uncertain times? Weichert® recommends agile leadership. It’s a leadership approach that lives within a mindset, where one sees beyond black and white terms. It’s about staying flexible, being mindful, and maintaining your posture even when you feel like your head is spinning. In some ways, agile leadership shares similarities with the 5,000-year-old practice of yoga. 

Here are a few strategies straight from the yoga mat to help you practice the art of agile leadership.


1. Keep calm

Unpredictable times, high interest rates, low inventory—there are many stressors to worry about. An agile leader keeps calm despite the external forces. And an agile leader stays fully aware of the market to mitigate surprises. While buying and selling a home can be a highly emotional transaction for clients and agents, it is the agile leader who maintains a steady beat for everyone in their sphere of influence.

“The mixing of money and sentiment can often be a recipe for unease. Ask any experienced real estate agent and they may share numerous stories of volatility, tears, and clients calling at 3 a.m. with concerns. The best of the best, however, understand that curbing client worries is all part of the job, with some even arguing that it is the most important part of being a successful broker.” (Source: Forbes)

Keeping calm—easier said than done? Absolutely. But by following a basic yoga tenet to focus on your breath, you can work on adapting to the situation, being in the present moment, and focusing on what is in your control. These are all key parts of agile leadership. Just like focusing on your breath in yoga keeps you present, agile leaders stay mindful of the current market and client needs. This is how you can respond, not react.


2. Stay flexible

In yoga, the mind and body are stretched in ways that may not be familiar. Agile methodologies are designed to be just as flexible and adaptable. Teams can change course based on new information, similar to how a yoga practitioner adjusts their pose to accommodate the body’s limitations. Many yoga poses require physical and mental flexibility, and so does agile leadership. This flexibility allows you to approach challenges with an open mind and adapt to different situations, mirroring the adaptability needed in agile leadership.


3. Find balance 

Yoga emphasizes balance in every pose, reminding us that even the most ambitious goals require stability. Agile leaders can learn to balance the vision for the business with the practical, thereby setting ambitious goals while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. It’s the constant balancing of the yin to the yang.

Agile leaders also balance individual strengths of their real estate agents with team dynamics. This is crucial for agile leadership. It encourages collaboration while respecting individual expertise, similar to how yoga balances various muscle groups and promotes overall well-being. Balancing poses are fundamental to yoga practice. They teach us to find equilibrium and stability in both the body and mind. This translates well to the balanced decision-making required in agile leadership.


4. Know when to let go

Coming off the heels of balance, is the yoga tenet: let it go. Striving for greatness is important for everyone on your team, but there has to be checks and balances. For example, is the goal for perfectionism getting in the way of seeing the forest through the trees? An agile leader recognizes moments where it’s best to let something go. By offering your team a safe and supportive environment for this type of change, they’ll begin to see that when one door closes another one is sure to open.

“In a complex environment, perfection is not always ideal. Instead, aim for progress, expect mistakes and recognize that you have the ability to continually course correct as needed. For high-achievers, prone to perfectionism, egos and desired identities (e.g., of being successful or being ‘the expert’) can get in the way. To let go of perfectionism, identify, and acknowledge your specific core fears that are triggered—such as ‘I’ll fail,’ ‘I’ll look bad,’ or ‘I’ll make the wrong decision.’ Underlying these fears is an often implicit and unexamined assumption that ‘if any of these fears come to fruition, I wouldn’t be able to recover from it.’” (Source: Harvard Business Review)


5. Stay grounded

Given that our brains are hardwired to look upon uncertainty as a risk or threat, it’s physiologically normal to feel worn out when faced with unfamiliar situations. This is especially true for high achievers with careers thriving on always knowing or finding the “right” answer. These unpleasant feelings can slowly become a significant barrier to learning, future growth, and ultimately performance in general.

Instead of pushing these feelings aside, the agile leader helps their team learn to acknowledge and embrace the discomfort associated with uncertainty. Instead, it’s viewed as an expected and regular part of the learning process. 


6. Welcome learning

Like yoga, agile leadership is a practice—a journey of continuous learning, growth, and improvement. Here are some additional tips to ensure a smooth implementation:

  • Start small: Don’t try to overhaul everything at once. Begin by applying agile principles to a specific department or project. This allows your team to experiment and learn before scaling up.
  • Be a coach, not a dictator: Empower your team members by providing guidance and mentorship rather than micromanaging tasks. Trust their expertise and encourage them to take ownership of their responsibilities.
  • Be prepared to adapt: Agile leadership is all about continuous improvement. Be prepared to adjust your strategies based on feedback and real-time market data. Embrace the process of learning and adapt your approach as needed.
  • Be proactive about your future: Remember, agile leadership isn’t just about reacting to change; it’s about proactively shaping your future success as a real estate broker. 


Could you benefit from receiving ongoing leadership coaching like this? Contact Weichert to learn more.


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