Are you going to take your team into the new world?

With Lee Woodward & Matt Church

COVID or no COVID, pandemic or not – leaders’ jobs haven’t changed. Matt Church, who has inspired leaders all over the world, believes good leadership is more important now more than ever. He thinks leaders must remove fear and replace it with confidence. The job of a leader is to, “Remove confusion and replace it with certainty and mobilise us to pursue a better future.” 

Leaders should get us moving. Shake and bake. He says, “The 2020 – 2021 world is the time for leadership. It’s actually the time to go, “What do we want to stop doing? What do we want to start doing? What do we want to do differently?” Thought leaders are ripples in a pond. Leadership is serious.”

Matt believes the fuse is short in real estate. He says, “The charisma of the founder, the energy of the leader is critically important. If you don’t inspire and impact, real estate agents leave. You must be the energetic centre of your office and the energetic centre of your group.”

COVID has created leadership opportunities and reinventions

Matt believes that the disruption caused by moving online because of COVID, has given us a unique opportunity to reflect, consider, reinvent and ask a series of very important questions such as:

What is better? 


Digital? Digital is an opportunity to be more visible. A thought leader publishes and presents. An influencer enrols and builds community. 

Synchronous – live? 

Asynchronous, like Netflix, watched later?

Going through the stargate

He says, “Maybe, the Monday morning meeting in an office is better done on Zoom, not from the office. And maybe we can share data better, and maybe we get better engagement. The metaphor for me is a stargate. I’m going to go through the stargate to a new world. What am I taking with me, and what am I leaving behind? And what’s the leadership backpack that you’re going to carry through? And I think the opportunity to remove old processes and maybe even not say, “I can’t wait to get back to physical,” but, “Is there a way I could optimize the digital as well?”

Leaders must create a culture worth belonging to, engage in work worth doing – by helping people with their most important assets and be a leader worth following. Matt says, “Real estate cultures can become almost like fish tanks. An office can be like a fish tank that can get out of balance real quick. One cynic, one bit of gossip, one bit of sarcasm, and then the whole team dynamic of that office can change. One of the leaders I was working with, at six foot six and as wide as a barn door and a surf skier, so solid as really struggled with the conversion online. When he entered the office, it was like a bow wave of impact.” Zoom, however, democratised and made interactions more intimate. For this great real estate leader, Zoom, in fact, Matt says, “decentralised his leadership and gave some of his quieter team members the confidence to step up which is exactly what he wanted.”

How do you want to lead? 

When examining leadership, a good place to start is by reflecting what have you learned about leadership?

Inspired by the book, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, a university lecturer, who got a terminal illness, and asked himself, what would I want to say in my last lecture, Matt asked himself the same questions, “What are my three lessons?” 

Matt says the first lesson for him is, “Get above the line; lead with intent. You can lead from fear or you can lead from love. And I don’t mean love in some sort of Hollywood romanticised way. It’s about seeing greatness in others and bringing it out. Leadership and parenting are anthropologically the same things. They are not different.”

His second lesson is, “Get attention out. If you’re getting everything you want, you can help enough people get what they want, and you’ll eventually get what you want. It is a journey of pronouns. Once you move from “I, I, me, me, me, my, my, my” and “You need to do this, and you need to do that, and you need to do this” and you get into we – into the collective pronoun – that is where leadership actually begins.”

His third lesson is to lead energetically. He says, “The state matters more than the script. There are so many studies that look at what you say is not important. It is important, but the minute we’re in rapport, who you’re being matters more than what you’re saying. So our words and our language get us into rapport, and then that’s our script, if you like. But then when we’re in rapport, it’s our state that converts. And you know this in real estate, right? The scripts and dialogues are the technologies that make sure you tick things off. The trust moment, like the handshake moment or the COVID elbow moment or whatever it is for you, where you actually do the deal, the sign on glass, whatever it might be, that moment is actually a state moment. And that’s where someone says, “We’re going to do this together.” And your script gets you into rapport, but your state gets you across the line.”

Matt believes two words guide leadership – curiosity and conviction. He says to ask yourself, every day, “Am I curious enough today? And do I have enough conviction? Sometimes I’ve fallen over the conviction side and I’m not open, and sometimes I’ve fallen over to the curiosity side and I’m not as confident. So to me, it’s like a razor’s edge, and I’m trying to just balance the tight rope between those two things. And I think that’s at the heart of being serious. You’re open to learning, but you’re also able to lead, like learning to lead, they go together so well.”

Curiosity means listening. Matt says, “Model what you want to attract because like follows like. Good listing is good listening, and good listening is good leading. It’s about not listening mutely, but engaged listening. This is the intentional part. Questions create connections. Try to understand what’s going on here. And that’s a skill, and it’s a skill I think that we’ll focus more on in the next decade. Listen courageously. Listen for the thing that makes you afraid. I’m going to listen because you might give me feed back I don’t want to hear. And that’s what it takes to grow sometimes as a leader. That’s why the exit interview is so important. When someone leaves your business, that’s where you take them out for coffee and go, “I know you’re leaving and I realize it’s me. Why?” It’s not going to affect that relationship. They’re gone, but it might affect the next one.” Listen deeply, intelligently and courageously. Ask questions. What questions do is they create connection.” Balance your tell, your show, your ask as a leader with vulnerability. Matt says, “Sophisticated leaders that we need this next decade of disruption, are going to have listening as a superpower. Ask questions that shifts the conversation, maybe elevates it.” 

When working with clients a key question for example is, “What are you going to miss about this property when you leave? Because I’d really love to know the thing that you don’t know at first glance, but after 10 years in it, you now know the feature is.” Matt says, the owner will say, “It’s actually how quiet it is on a Saturday afternoon at the fire pit in the backyard. And you go, “Okay.” You wouldn’t have pointed out the fire pit. It would have been a little thing when they walked down around the shrubbery, but now you get to go down there and tell the owner’s story and go, “Do you know, the owners, they say, of the house, this is their favourite place.”

Conviction is also knowing how to lead. Leadership is like traffic lights. Matt says, ask yourself, “Are your people red light, orange light, green light? You need to get as many people into a green-light state as possible. When they’re red, they need whole-of-person support. So don’t run an accountability conversation when someone’s in a red zone. “Do you need a lasagna? Can I drop something over?” When someone’s in an orange, they’re having good and bad days, what they need is scaffold and structure. Green – which is where I hope most of your people are, and certainly by the time we are at Complete Leader and 2021 and rolling – you’ve got to start looking at whether people are still going with the flow and whether they’ve flicked off the switch. And I don’t mind either of those for mid-2020, but what I want people in enterprise and my team to be is I’m going, “No, no. We’re going to the portal now, the stargate.”

Property is as much about behavioural science as it is about property. Leadership is learning to be really present and conscious. Let Matt Church show you how.

Matt Church will be speaking at the 13th annual Complete Leader Conference on 10th & 11th March, 2021 at the Novotel Brighton Le Sands, Sydney. Click here for more information.