GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Don’t Take Leadership for Granted

Richard Haggerty | August 16, 2019

Every August the National Association of Realtors brings together the CEOs and President Elect’s from all of the local Realtor Associations from around the country for a “Leadership Summit.” The day-and-a-half long program is packed with motivational speakers and interactive sessions. HGAR’s incoming President for 2020, Gail Fattizzi and I just returned from this year’s Leadership Summit and I’m happy to report that it was one of the best I’ve ever attended.

2020 NAR President Vince Malta and other members of the Leadership Team discussed NAR’s Strategic Priorities for 2020. The first is collaborating with a broad coalition of organizations to influence positive outcomes on housing equality and affordability. The second is driving community development with a focus on economic development. The third is retaining the Realtor’s role as the best source of property information for consumers. The fourth and last is enhancing the value of membership and the member experience. I believe all of these priorities will clearly benefit the membership as a whole and strengthen the organization.

The two most common themes at the Summit were effective leadership traits and communications. One of the most unique and surprising sessions devoted to communication techniques was facilitated by three members of the Second City Improvisation and Comedy Group. Second City was the comedic breeding ground for the likes of Joan Rivers, Bill Murray, John and Jim Belushi, Steve Carell, and Tina Fey, just to mention a few. Through a series of skits and interactive activities, the folks from Second City were able to emphasize the importance of knowing the audience you are attempting to communicate with, and the importance of customizing your message based upon the intended audience. Not surprisingly they were very funny, but they also delivered a great message.

While there were several excellent segments devoted to leadership, my favorite by far was conducted by former NAR President Ron Phipps, who recently facilitated the HGAR Strategic Planning process. Ron talked about the fact that Realtors have been the foundation of organized real estate over the last 100 years, having created the concept of multiple listing services, the Realtor Code of Ethics, appraisal standards, transparent markets, title insurance and recorded, searchable public records; evidencing that Realtors have been benefiting consumers for more than a century.

Ron also reviewed his recipe for great leaders. Some of the ingredients that resonated with me included stepping out of yourself and putting other people and their perspective before yours, embracing inclusivity, engaging in active listening, embracing humility and recognizing it’s not about you, rather it’s about us and the mission, owning failure and choosing the best people for your team.

The final point of Ron’s presentation was the most simple but powerful ingredient for me. Express gratitude—express appreciation for all of those individuals who are a part of the team, who help make the organization a success. From my perspective every member of HGAR is a part of this team and I want to sincerely thank everyone of you for allowing me to be a part of such an amazing association.


Richard Haggerty