February 10

5 Ways to Become a Better Leader


Five Ways to Become a Better Leader

In today’s episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast, we have John Lawrence, Licensed Real Estate Broker.

John Lawrence’s Tip: “Keep pushing, and respect everybody, ask everybody how you can assist them.”

Guest Bio:

John Lawrence has been a leading presence in the New York City real estate market since 1988. John entered the real estate scene with a bang, making his first sale on his very first day in the business! His trajectory to sales management was spurred by selling more than 75 townhouses and brownstones in less than two years. He started his sales management career at Bellmarc, where he oversaw the opening of multiple divisions in sales and rentals, creating a dynamic multi-dimensional office under his direction.

After being personally recruited by Dottie Herman in 2006, John moved to Douglas Elliman where he brought a contingent of 50 agents to the Upper West Side office. In his fifteen years at Elliman, he oversaw more than $2 Billion in sales and managed three offices with more than 400 brokers. John excels in managing projects and motivating salespeople to bring out their personal best.

Find John Lawrence: Website, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This podcast is sponsored by No Limits Selling. It is a fun, fast-paced podcast that delivers hard-fought business advice that you can implement today to improve your sales and performance]

Interested In Our Real Estate Coaching Services? Explore Our Website: Link

Feeling Not Well Today? You Can Use Our Mindset Boosters App To amp Up Your Mood: Link

Find us on Social Media:

LinkedIn | Facebook community | Instagram

Like what do you listen to? Subscribe to our podcast!

Ready to become fearless? We can help you become fearless in 60 days so you accomplish more in your career Schedule A 15 min Call with Umar


In this episode, John Lawrence and Umar Hameed discuss ten pieces of advice to be a great leader. By emphasizing the importance of being present, listening actively, and expanding the comfort zone. They also stress the need to know and engage with team members, build a culture of camaraderie and define the team's values. They also discuss the importance of building a team for the right reasons and autopsying each transaction to learn what works and what needs improvement. Learn how to get the best performance out of your team: Ask about their favorite teacher and what made them effective. Engage your team: Foster a positive work environment and a strong sense of camaraderie. Bring the team together: Unite the team with a shared purpose and intent to help each other succeed.
Be there for others: Focus on providing what the team needs, rather than what you need as a leader. Define the team: Establish clear values and goals that bond the team and attract like-minded individuals. Make sure you want to lead: Recognize that leadership is a commitment and should not be solely about personal gain. Autopsy each transaction: Continuously evaluate successes and failures to learn and improve as a team.

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Do you have a negative voice in your head?

Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone! My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on The No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you, do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed, not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right! Let's get started.

Umar Hameed 0:41
Hey everyone! Welcome to another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast. Now you may have heard of Lawrence of Arabia, we've got a better one, Lawrence of Manhattan is going to be on the show in a minute. One of the things I'm happy to announce is this is as you know, my mission in life is to make people better, stronger, faster, and I've got a new app coming out that we've been charging $100 for. And this past Saturday, I had an epiphany, we need to get this in the hands of everybody. It's free, it's always going to be free. And so ultimately, at the end of the day, it's all about mindset, and how we show up in life, because we were put here to succeed. And all only thing that gets in the way is this. And we're going to figure out how to use this better. Today, I'd like to welcome John Lawrence to the program. Welcome.

John Lawrence 1:31
Thank you so much. I appreciate being on today and look forward to chatting.

Umar Hameed 1:36
Right now you're a team leader with how many people in your team?

John Lawrence 1:38
We currently have 35 agents on the team, we have two administrators and the driver.

Umar Hameed 1:44
Excellent. And so at one point, you were either solo or you are part of the team. Tell me about when you came in the industry and what you thought the industry would be and what it actually turned out to be because usually there's a delta between reality and expectations.

John Lawrence 1:59
Absolutely. I've been in the industry quite a while I got back in I got into the industry in the late 80s I actually did you know so I've been in this quite a quite a long time. My first day was my first sale. My first client actually was my...

Umar Hameed 2:14

John Lawrence 2:14
Yes it was.

Umar Hameed 2:15
Hold on for a minute. Stopped the represses. [Umar clapping] That is amazing.

John’s background in real estate.


John Lawrence 2:15
It gave me a great taste for the business. No question about that. So I started back in the late 80s, probably 88 was when I started. I've seen all sorts of different parts of real estate I've done foreclosure business. I have done buying and selling of my own. And then you know I came to Douglas Elliman a couple years ago where I was actually Director of Sales for Douglas Elliman had about 400 agents working under me. I currently transitioned last year into a team. My first year as a team, I had a partner Joe Purina we were at Douglas Elliman so that first year, we made it into the top 400 My first year out in the country. So that was fantastic. After the first year that kind of slowed us down from growing, so I decided to move to compass where myself and two other agents started here under me. And within a year we've grown this to a 35 person team. We're in New York and New Jersey and looking to continue growing.

Umar Hameed 3:18
So in your team, no matter whose team it is, from Tesla to IBM, people fall into three categories. Normally, there was like the A players that walk on water, then you've got the beat players that do a really good job in this potential there to do you achieve greatness. And then you have the folks that are like just doing a few transactions. So what would be the percentage split? What percentage of your team would you say are the A players people that walk on water?

John Lawrence 3:47
I would say out of the 35 people that we have, we probably have about seven agents that work on water.

Umar Hameed 3:53
So you curated curated your team, because that's actually a disproportionate number of a player's absolute, which is like 21%. And then you've got how many C players would you say?

John Lawrence 4:04
Well, my C players would be the new agents coming into the business. So we are we are adapting new agents, we actually do new agent training here on the team. You know, one of the nice things that we have about the team is we have a very good mix. So we are ranged in age from 21 years old to 83 years old.

Umar Hameed 4:21
Wow. One of the nice things about new people coming into the industry like giving an example of getting your first sale. And people will tell you, John, you can't do that. You got to be patient, you got to do this. So sometimes being young and dumb is pretty amazing. When people come in and they just follow instructions somebody wants to do boss and they're doing it and they're getting results. So doesn't happen often. But what do you think that happens?

John Lawrence 4:42
It's just what you said that they don't know any better. They don't know that a building isn't the best building and they see this building and they want to sell it. Whereas sometimes you know, brokers in the industry get a little tainted. They will have a their own preconceived notion of particular building, whether it has good financials or something like that we have an agent that just joined us. And he came in from Aspen, he's 24 years old, his first client that he's out with, he has his first offer that we're negotiating.

Umar Hameed 5:10
Oh, brilliant. I was doing this gig for a company that manufactures silicone, and one of the customers is Apple. And they wanted to get a hold of the chief of engineering, which is like, even though they work together, hard to get a hold of, and this young dumb salesperson came in, and he's getting appointments with almost hardest people to find, and people like, how do you do this? And it's like, well, I just kind of picked up the phone and did it like Why wouldn't it be better? And what's kind of interesting is this is sometimes those people that are doing these amazing things, the rest of the team ends up poisoning their mindset. And then they go, "Oh, I can't do this anymore," and they go and I guess it's your job as leader to inoculate them to say, "No, keep going!"

John Lawrence 5:53
That's exactly. And then what we do here is we have a, we have some people on the team that are really icons in the industry. So what we've done is, you know, they've gotten older and then they need some people to assist. And that's to your answer, Omar as to why we have a disproportionate number of seven people that are kind of walk on water, because they need assistance. So what we've done is not everybody has come back to work at this point the way that they should be. But our team, we always have have staff and we're always helping people move forward. So that we're meeting the market, we're going out and grabbing the market so to speak. We we have properties up in Harlem, we have properties on Park Avenue, we have commercial properties, we do a little bit of everything, and work inside the team to push business back and forth. I mean, I have 110 acres on the water upstate up in Kingston. So there's a lot of different type properties, we have development sites. And we'll have studios for sale. So we'll do it all, whether it's Park Avenue, whether it's up in Harlem, or whether it's downtown in the financial district, it all makes part of Manhattan.

How to be a better real estate leader.

Umar Hameed 6:55
And no matter what Palace you're selling, or what hovel you're selling, it has a value, no question, and it's our job to highlight the value and find the best person for it, that's gonna go "Oh, my God, I want this."

John Lawrence 7:11
No question about that. And you got to remember that each one of these people, it is the most important transaction to them. So we might say, "Oh, I just want to sell $5 million properties." But when selling that three or $400,000 property, it is just as important, and we need to have just as much service to each person. You know, our, you know, one of our tag lines is, you know, brokers for life, you know, we want to make sure that we're doing all transactions and helping all of the families.

Umar Hameed 7:35
Yeah. So let's talk about because it's easy to manage yourself, quote, unquote, "I'm working, I'm gonna do this, this, this, this and," but when you're leading people, especially people that don't work for you, then that's true leadership. So why don't we take a look at the five pieces of advice that you would give to be a better leader? What would be? Why don't we play a game, we'll each do a point. And let's see how, how many we get, I'll let you kick it off, what's one piece of advice to be a great leader?

John Lawrence 8:09
Be present.

Umar Hameed 8:11
And how do you become present?

John Lawrence 8:13
You focus on what the current needs are, you need to address the market and fulfill something that they're not getting in another way you need to add value.

Umar Hameed 8:22
Absolutely! I'm gonna go number two with, you need to be a great listener. And one of the ways to be a great listener, because people can tell when you're with them and you're not listening. They get it one of the ways to listen is to do this dear listener, and viewer is whatever they're saying, repeat it inside your head. And so they say you're repeating it, and it just forces you to be fully present. And they can feel that attendance. And number one, you pick up useful information. Number two, they feel valued. And number three, it builds trust.

John Lawrence 8:54
I couldn't agree with you anymore. You know. And on that point, one of the things that I would do is basically go over what you just said, Umar, and repeat a portion of it back to you. And addressing you by name in that conversation is showing you that you are present in the conversation.

Umar Hameed 9:08
Ah, love that. So number three to you, my friend?

John Lawrence 9:12
Okay, number three to me would basically be let's not stay in our comfort zone. Let's work inside our comfort zone and add another block onto that building block each each week. So that we're going to do what we do very well. And we're going to continue to add on to our business. So we're never going to forget what got us there. But we're going to add additional pieces to make our business much more comprehensive.

Umar Hameed 9:35
Love that. Because ultimately if you're not pushing out your comfort zone, it is shrinking by definition, there is no status quo. And one of the things I tell people is it's a lot like hearing loss. People that are losing their hearing don't realize they're losing it because it doesn't go from hearing okay to not okay, it's like a gradual process and the same thing with a comfort zone. But you do know when you're expanding it because baby, you're kicking at it till it gets wider and wider.

John Lawrence 10:03
You're getting a little bit uncomfortable but still moving forward and start taking those challenges to the next level. And that's what's the worst that's going to happen in real estate. Let's, let's take a step back and be a little real about that. You know, it's not brain surgery, it is something very important to many people. So we have to, you know, what is what is the end result, we're looking to sell houses for as much as we possibly can to get the owners as much money as possible. We're looking to find buyers the best deal possible, the make them comfortable and have them save money. So you know, when we're thinking what we're doing, as I say, it's not brain surgery, but you do need to be present, you need to use all the resources. And so many people these days, you know, what makes us a little bit different than a lot of the other teams that are out there is that we work together, we work off of each other, we use the referrals and things like that, you know, on my team, we have three different attorneys. I have a former appraiser on my team. You know, I when I came from Douglas, Elliman, I took the office manager to be one of our admins. And we also have the virtual, the graphic designer as well. So when you have those different pieces, you make it easier for everybody. And I think that's one of the most important things is making it easier both for buyers and sellers.

How to get the best performance out of your team.

Umar Hameed 11:21
And when you do that, it's easier on yourself as well, right? It's just everybody eases into a great transaction. So here is number four. If you're a leader, one of the questions you need to ask your people, your chargers is this, get them in a conversation over the you know, over coffee or whatever, and then just slip this question in, "Do you find me attractive?" No, that's not the question you ask. The question you ask is this is, "Who is your favorite teacher in high school or elementary school?" And they're going to tell you who that teacher is, number one is going to change this date. And then once they're telling you the story about that person, ask them this follow up question, "What did they do to get the best performance out of you?" And then they'll tell you exactly what they did. And if you ask someone, "What do I need to do to get the performance out of you?" Is their intellect talking? When you get them back to their favorite teacher, they actually go back to that moment and reveal the truth even to themselves like, "Oh, my God, this is what he did, or she did." So that's the way you need to know the people you lead. And that's a frickin' good question. Thoughts on that, John?

John Lawrence 12:22
I like it very much, Umar. As you were saying it, I went back and I saw Mrs. Mason,

Umar Hameed 12:27
I love it.

John Lawrence 12:28
my fifth grade teacher. And absolutely does put you in a place to be, you know, accepting into want to learn. And you know, from each of it, you know, I think we all have something different to bring into it. You know, that's why, you know, our team is a very diverse team. And the diversity actually opens up the markets to us, we have people doing Senior Living, we have people doing rentals, so we try to, you know, basically cover all aspects.

Umar Hameed 12:52
Love that. So I guess number five is back to you.

John Lawrence 12:55
All right. So number five, what I would say is engagement. You know, we need to be fully engaged. how are you keeping people that want to come into the office, or people that weren't coming to the office? How are you getting them back in? they need to engage. Once they engage, everybody is generally happier. We have a very large office here, we probably have about 300 desks in this office that I'm at. I've been very fortunate that we've been giving the floor here where we have the downstairs for the Lawrence team. That being said, the energy that we bring in is contagious. There are people that have joined the team who've been in this company for many, many years, they just see the energy that we bring to the table and how we work together and push business to each other. And that's what everybody wants.

How to build a team that is more than the sum of the parts.

Umar Hameed 13:40
Brilliant. And I think yeah, that engagement is so important. I'm going to add to that and kind of go off you to get number six. Ultimately, at the end of the day, what you need to do is to bring all these independent people together sounds like you've done that as one team. And if you do this one magic trick, most of the time, even in corporations when it's not independent operators, when you take a look at, let's say the management team, you see the best and the brightest. But when they come together, the whole is less than the sum of the parts because there's like office politics and friction and all that bullshit. But if you build a culture that allows people to come together, where they'll take a bullet for each other, even though they're independent contractors, what you'll get is camaraderie, which we'll get is as smart as you are, John, your team is smarter than you. And if you've got...

John Lawrence 14:27

Umar Hameed 14:28
...anybody's got a problem. If it's ask John, he's never an answer. But if you get the team together, the wisdom of the whole is going to be so much better. If you can get that kind of team together. That's how you out think and now how you outpace the competition is come together as one unit with the intent of helping other people in that team win. And that's how you build a frickin' amazing team.

John Lawrence 14:29
There is no question about that, Umar. It's something that it's exactly what we're concentrating we have subcommittees on the team, we do social work. We have social media committees, we have social committees so that we will often get together after work and things like that, you know, it's something that empowering each other is a wonderful power to have.

Umar Hameed 15:11
All right. To you, my friend.

John Lawrence 15:14

Umar Hameed 15:15
Number seven.

John Lawrence 15:17
Okay, for number seven, I would say that, you know, don't setting up a team, to be what others needed to be, not what you need to be, we need to be there for others in this role. I mean, if we're there for others, and we're receiving the information, and we're able to help them and move them forward, you will absolutely move forward just by definition of helping others. And by doing that, it gives back so much both personally and professionally. So I really, I would really push for people to be present to engage with people. And just to see how what most of the agents that were with their independent agents, because they didn't want to go into other businesses. So let's use that power of everything that they have, what were their former, what did they do in their former careers? As I mentioned earlier, we have a couple here, we have a few attorneys, we have appraisers. So when we have all of that information together, it gives us a wonderful way of being able to work together and create more business.

The importance of defining the team’s values and who they are.

Umar Hameed 16:21
Love that. And I think one of the things we need to do is to define the team who we are. Because if we get a sense of who we are, that gives us a battle cry to come together. And because a team isn't gonna be right for everyone, and everyone's not gonna be right for the team. And oftentimes, what we do is we've got this team, and we can kind of get a feel for who we want. But once we define it, these are our values. This is the utmost important thing for us as a team. It one bonds, the team creates engagement. And two, it helps us select people to join. And when people join, they go, "I found home." And that's why we get people staying because earning $1 more isn't as important as being with family.

John Lawrence 17:05
It's absolutely true. You have to give them another reason, and why this works for them. Why do they want to join the team as opposed to being independent? Why do they want to share as opposed to trying to capture everything themselves? So when one in one equals three, that's the right answer.

Umar Hameed 17:20
I love it. Actually, I think one on one equals 11. But that's just me. [both laughing]

John Lawrence 17:24
Now you really get me, Umar.

Umar Hameed 17:27
Alright, one last one for you. Number nine.

John Lawrence 17:32
Okay, number nine. Make sure you really want it, make sure you're not just building it, make sure this is something that you know how to control. And you're doing this for the right reasons. This cannot be about you. It has to be about everyone. It has to be about the team first.

Umar Hameed 17:53
I love that. And I think that's super huge. Because people really think I come into the industry, I figure out what's going on, then I need to get a team and I do this and like no, it's like you may have really good skills as a realtor but leadership skills are totally different. And it just might be actually a pain in the butt doing it.

John Lawrence 18:10
It is sometimes. But you know what, what the rewards that come from it are wonderful as well. So you have to have, you have to want it and you have to follow through with it. It's not just something to build and let it take on its own life. It's something to help people move forward and appreciate everyone.

Umar Hameed 18:28
Here's number 10. And we'll make it the last one unless you want to have the last word which

John Lawrence 18:34
No, no.

Umar Hameed 18:34
...you're elcome to do here is number 10. Number 10 is we need to autopsy each transaction that we do that works and doesn't work. And to figure out what worked when we did it. And it could be stuff that we already know. Or it could be oh my god, we did this thing slightly different. And we got great results. Maybe we should add that. And if it went south also do that. And the same thing for our contribution to it. How did I do as a leader this week for you? What went well, what could be better? And I think that feedback, and if we have the intent on the team, that it's about the betterment of everyone, then people aren't saying, "Well, John, if you did this, I would have gotten that deal. It's not there." It's more in terms of you know, "I really could have appreciated this support." And I think that level of transparency and service not just from you to your team, but the team to each other and to you, then you build something freakin' amazing.

Best piece of advice he’s ever gotten in real estate.

John Lawrence 19:26
I agree with that. I think it's essential, I think I think you need to have collaboration. Collaboration is just such an important word in team.

Umar Hameed 19:34
So two last questions. Well, three, actually, number one, what's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten in real estate? Something that you valued? Highly.

John Lawrence 19:45
That's a piece of have a plan. A lot of people will say I have a business plan. You have to keep everything like that. Instead of having a business plan, I call it a roadmap. Have a road map. Because when you're on a trip very often you're going to take a detour, you're going to get lost a little bit. But the whole thing is coming back onto that roadmap and staying when you have a business plan that is so strict that if you fall off in, a lot of people don't get back onto the business plan. All of a sudden, you know what, I didn't make my calls, I didn't get the exclusive right, my business plan did work. But if you have a roadmap, you do sometimes take a detour or get lost. But as long as you get back onto track and get back onto that roadmap, you will be where you need to go. Keep pushing and respect everybody. Ask everybody how you can assist them. And then once you know how to assist them, it's them if they can assist you.

Umar Hameed 20:40
Love it. Great advice. We're always learning, we're always expanding, we're always pushing the comfort zone. What's one area that you're focusing on right now to be a better John?

John Lawrence 20:53
It's just that it's, you know, hearing everybody what they need? How can we fulfill this? And what we found out by doing this is that, you know, referring business to each other is phenomenal. It's a great built in strategy that comes with rewards. People already have the confidence once the business are referred. So we are looking to build out a bigger referral network. We are moving into the Hamptons, Long Island, you know, building up a New Jersey and a Westchester being so that we do have that other opportunity for people.

Umar Hameed 21:22
love that. So what's the question for me?

John Lawrence 21:26
A question for you is...

Umar Hameed 21:29
How long is this damn podcast?

John Lawrence 21:32
We have a couple more moments. But what made you get so interested in doing the podcast and following real estate and the different trends?

Umar Hameed 21:39
So a friend of mine recommended it to his name is Fred Diamond. And he's got the Sales Game Changer Podcast, they've done over 500 episodes, he said, "Umar, you should do this." And my highest value is learning new things. And the reason I'm doing the podcast is two reasons.,well, probably three reasons. Number one is learning new stuff is like the conversation we had I picked up to three points that I didn't know before, makes me incredibly happy. Number two, that you and I get to serve the greater community.

The power of mindset is the number one most important thing you can do.

Because there's gonna be people out there out of the 10 piece of advice, and you get two extra, out of the 12 piece of advice, someone's going to find one of those pieces of advice and go, "Holy crap, this really helped me out a lot."

John Lawrence 22:19
I think that's right, there, Umar because you can't try to try and change everything. But if you can get one point out of something, and work better and make yourself better, one degree each day, each week, each month, or whatever it is. That's a winning situation.

Umar Hameed 22:33
Absolutely. And this some probably some stuff that you've said today that people are going. I already heard that before. Sure, but you said it in a different way. And for some people, it's going to be like, "Holy crap! oh my god! I can finally understand what people are saying." So we need different voices. Because there's like 8 billion people out there. And so And the third thing is, it's a really good way to really meet a lot of people and meet a lot of realtors, because our core business very much is, is mindset, because mindset is the number one most important thing that you can do. And I'll tell you a quick mindset story before we pass, I was working with a team in Baltimore, Maryland, used to be my hometown, and one of the realtors there was 22 years old. And he's doing well. But each time he goes for a listing appointment, he takes his team leader with him. And in his head, he had a belief that I'm too young for this industry. And in the very first month, what we did was we identified what the belief was transformed the belief and the very next month. Normally his deals are like $600,000 properties back there. He went for a $3.5 million listing and landed it because we changed the belief, I'm too young. And he said, "For the last month I've not even had that thought." And that's the power we have. If we, I mean everything in the entire world comes with the owner's manual except this. And that's my mission is to make that happen. And, John, you added a ton of value to our conversation today. Thanks so much for the interview. And I'm looking forward to our next conversation.

John Lawrence 24:07
Thank you so much, Umar. Have a wonderful week and it was a great, lot of fun and I really appreciate this.

Umar Hameed 24:17
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.

Don’t miss this opportunity to transform your real estate career with one-on-one coaching. As an experienced real estate coach, I, Umar Hameed, am dedicated to helping you unlock your full potential and achieve your real estate goals. To learn more about who am I and my clients ↓

Follow This Link

If you’re ready to take the next step, book an appointment with me today and begin your journey toward success in the real estate industry.

Book Your Appointment Now!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get In Touch