Meaghan Levy | Crain's Twin Cities

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Meaghan Levy

Background:  

Newmark Knight Frank is a global commercial real estate advisory firm with more than 400 offices on six continents. The firm provides a fully integrated platform of services to prominent multinational corporations and institutional investors.

The Mistake:

I failed in helping a great property manager in becoming as successful as she could have been.

Years ago, I worked to bring this awesome senior property manager onto my team. It took about a year, but she finally joined the firm. I was really surprised how much she struggled when she came over, but I didn’t give her the feedback that she wasn't being successful with our clients. Needless to say, it didn't work out the way any of us intended.

What I learned in hindsight is that I failed in helping a great property manager in becoming as successful as she could have been because I wasn't courageous enough to tell her that she was failing and how she was failing.

I was new to being a director of property management. So it was within the first couple of years of my career, and it was a devastatingly hard lesson because not only was she a great property manager – she was also a friend.

The earlier you have those conversations the better outcomes you can produce.

The Lesson:

I now know that the result is only going to be as good as the trust and the honesty between myself and my colleagues. Moreover, it's incredibly rewarding to work in an environment and have a culture based on a dynamic of mutual trust and respect.

That also ties into relationships with the clients we've chosen to partner with. If I knew then what I know now, I would have learned to build trust faster with our clients so that my company has the bandwidth to produce superior client outcomes faster. A property management team is only as good as their client allows them to be, and the faster that we get to a place of trust, the better the results we can produce.

The big takeaway is to have courage. As a leader, you’re paid to manage performance, and that's not easy. Sometimes you have to sit down and have that crucial conversation with your direct report. It's not fun for anybody, but it's what you have to do. That's what your company trusts you to do, and the earlier you have those conversations the better outcomes you can produce. You have to be courageous as a leader.

Follow Newmark Knight Frank on Twitter at @NewmarkKF.

Photo courtesy of Newmark Knight Frank

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