By HELEN HULL
The real estate industry is at a crossroads. As we travel the pathway toward professionalism, we need strong leaders to help guide the way. But just what is the state of leadership in our industry and what do we need to do to improve?
There’s little doubt that the real estate industry’s reputation has spiralled out of control in recent years – and not in a good way. This is one of the key drivers of the movement toward recognition as a profession and John Cunningham, Chair of the REIA Professionalism Committee, said strong leadership will be at the core of changing this reputation for the better.
“As an industry, we’re generally far too self-centred,” he said. “Ego isn’t a bad thing, but it’s certainly detrimental when it becomes over-inflated. The concept of teamwork and working together for the common good is all too often over-shadowed by the ‘rock star’ mentality that’s overtaken our service-based industry. We’ve come to a point where the focus is on the agent and not the best outcome for the consumer.”
According to Mr Cunningham, leadership has been pushed aside in favour of the almighty dollar.
“There’s a ‘greed is good’ mentality and we’ve lacked the will and the strong leadership required to address it. As a result, over the past 10 years, the biggest egos have dominated our industry,” he said. “And it hasn’t gone unnoticed by consumers. They’ve been talking about us – and not in a flattering way!”
Mr Cunningham said the industry needs strong leadership to address the situation.
“We need leaders who are willing to stand up and be part of a movement that will change the face of real estate practice forever,” he said. “Strong leadership is what gives a change movement a direction that can be understood and followed. Without it, the movement will fall apart or become fragmented, because the purpose is lost.”
According to Mr Cunningham, the real estate industry’s pathway toward professionalism has all the right ingredients, and this has helped what started as a kernel of an idea four years ago to progress to a movement that’s gathered momentum and is now endorsed by agents across the country.
“There’s now strong, committed leadership from a core group of like-minded individuals and organisations in every state and territory,” Mr Cunningham said. “We’ve clearly identified the need for our industry to become a profession and have a common desire to change, evolve and raise standards as a result.
“Now is the time for leaders. With enough strong, effective leaders who are willing to reinvent both themselves and our industry, we can evolve into a profession and survive and thrive into the future.”