phone: 1300 367 412



Print Article

Leadership in action by Lee Woodward with Shirley Dalton

By Lee Woodward, CEO Real Estate Academy with Shirley Dalton, Dalton Business Systems

If you are a leader, you can make or break your business. How you show up and how that lands and impacts on other people sets the tone for the day, the week, the year.

The best leader and manager of people I ever had, changed my life and his business. He knew me better than I knew myself. When I started out, I wasn’t getting where I needed to be, so he said to me, “Lee, I know they've told you to make 100 cold calls. Don't worry about that."

“What do you want me to do?” I said.

“I'm in charge of you. So when you fail, I fail. And you're not going to fail, because I really want to make this work,” he replied.

And I was like, right. “What do you want me to do?” “Don't worry about counting your calls, just find me one appraisal a day, that's it. As soon as you find one, you're allowed to go."

“That's it?” I couldn’t believe it.

“All I need from you, Lee - your commitment to me - is just one appraisal a day."

One appraisal a day? I couldn’t believe it. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was so simple for me to understand. Tell me what I've got to do and I'll do it. He knew how to read me. But then it got even better.

He said, “As soon as you've got one, I don't care if it's 9:30am. Just go."

Go? I couldn’t believe it. My day opened up. Freedom beckoned. Of course it worked a charm. We had this great deal that I'd find one a day.

And that’s how I broke through.

My focus was clear, my intention was clear. And he didn't care how I found that one appraisal. Micro management didn’t work for me. Making 100 calls didn’t work for me. He knew that wasn't the best use of my time and didn’t suit my personality. He knew that I would commit. I'm a person that commits to something. He rearranged the rules for me and it worked for me and it worked for him and the bottom line of the business.

He taught me to keep leadership simple.

We cannot underestimate the importance of leadership but we need to learn how to lead.

Shirley Dalton teaches leaders how to grow. The CEO of Dalton Business Systems, she specialises in people, processes and possibilities and she knows the qualities leaders need.

Self awareness

As a leader you have to understand the impact you have on others. People feel your energy and react accordingly. Shirley knows self awareness can change a business and a life. She says, “I had a chap who ran a big business and he came in because he wanted to be a better leader, a better business person. And at the end of it, what he got out of it was that he became a better father and a better husband. One of his kids was sitting on the lounge one day and she said to him, “Do you remember when you weren't a very good father?'"

While he was working with Shirley, learning how to be present and really actively listen to his staff, he realised he needed to do that at home as well. Shirley says, “He would work from home and his wife would come home and he'd be in the middle of something and he’d begrudgingly drag himself away from the table and turn to sort of give her half of his attention. They'd end up getting into a bit of a fight, because she was not getting the attention. He learned how to actively listen and really be present with people, which is what you have to do as a leader. If somebody's standing there, you need to be present. So he changed. When she came home, he would put down what he was doing, turn, face her, listen and be present. For 10 minutes - that's all she needed. All she needed was that presence for 10 minutes and then she was right. She'd go off and do whatever she wanted to do and he could get back to work. And he couldn't believe it."

Know your people

Know your people and know how best to lead and manage them and how best to appreciate them. Shirley says, “When you look at it in the real estate industry, the best salespeople read the sellers and the buyers. They know them, they know when to shut up, they know when to give more detail, they know how to manage the people that they're working with. And the sad thing for me is that I don't see that skill taken across to their team."

When you know your people, appreciate them for who they are and you demonstrate that, you will get the best out of them. How you get to know them is by learning to actively listen and developing the language of leadership. Shirley says, “People often won't necessarily react to the message, but they'll react to the manner in which the message is put forward. So you can ask somebody to do something or you can order them to do something."

How you speak matters. Shirley suggests more positive declarative sentences which express appreciation such as, 'I really liked that you had the room set up for me today' or 'I really liked that your team are very welcoming'. These kinds of comments are more positively received than declarative sentences such as, 'I like this, I don't like that, I believe this and I don't believe that'."

Further, when it is time for a difficult conversation, Shirley finds the A-S-E-R-T approach useful because it provides a structure to steer a problem towards resolution. She says, “A stands for 'About' - what's this issue about that I've got to have this conversation with this person. And then S is for "Specifically', - what is it specifically that they've done. And then the E is the 'Emotion' - how am I feeling about this? And then the R stands for what's the 'Result' of this? And then the T is to 'Tell'."

We can always be better

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Invite experts into your life to help you grow as a leader. If you are brave and willing to change yourself and your business, Shirley runs an intensive incredible four-day course in leadership – 'Leading yourself and others'. Please see for more details.




Go back