Are you a Leader or a Manager?

In reflecting on the past six months, it struck me that corporate management teams know the Fed will likely reduce purchasing of mortgage bonds which will generate rising interest rates. As Rob Chrisman said in a recent newsletter, “With the Fed holding rates artificially low, when the Fed stops, rates will go up – any more questions? Managers hoping for seven more months of 3.50% 30-yr loans so they can ‘do some volume and make some money’ may be disappointed.”

It seems to me that great leadership at mortgage companies is needed now more than ever to navigate from the low-hanging fruit of refinance business to the more traditional purchase business. Furthermore, strong leadership is not limited to those individuals with a corporate title but applies to everyone in a sales organization.

Why do we need excellent leadership in every part of an organization? I think that Seth Godin says it best in his recent book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. (I highly recommend Godin’s books. He is an excellent marketing guru and one of my favorite business thinkers.) According to Godin, we need leaders because:

&#8226 The marketplace is rewarding organizations and individuals who change things and create remarkable products and services. Average doesn’t work anymore.

&#8226 The very structure of today’s workplace means that it’s easier than ever to change things and that individuals have more leverage than ever before.

&#8226 Most of all there is a tribe of fellow employees or customers just waiting for you to connect them to one another and lead them to where they want to go.

Godin says the best thing is that you don’t need to wait until you’re exactly in the right job or built the right organization or moved up three rungs on the corporate ladder. Leadership is about creating change that you believe in. Leaders have followers. Managers have employees. Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.

Why change? Change is frightening, and to many people, it seems more of a threat than a promise. Godin says that’s too bad, because the future belongs to our leaders, regardless of what position they currently have.

Godin also says that today’s marketing has changed the idea of stability. It’s human nature to assume the world is stable and that we will always be mailing our bill payments; that Java will always be the dominate computer language or that deposits will always be made at a branch location. These methods are already shifting to new paradigms.

Has your organization embraced the changing business environment? Are your sales professionals ready to take on the challenges of the future? Are you leading or just managing?