Real estate managers get called to lead in dynamic ways. Our job duties include a wide range of responsibilities, from client and customer relations to financial management and human resources to management of the physical asset. Central to this range of duties is the ability to lead our teams according to common values and pursue strategic goals around these functions.
With leadership so central to successful real estate management, it’s only natural that one of IREM’s organizational values is leadership. The organizational value states:
We believe that leadership is not just a position, it’s a mindset. It’s listening, understanding, and helping others succeed. IREM members lead the way, ensuring a sustainable profession for future generations.
The Leadership Development Advisory Council, new in 2023, has been established to act on this organizational value. IREM recognizes that developing leaders within the organization is critical to reaching the goals in the IREM Strategic Plan. Motivated by the importance of our work to the association, the Leadership Development Advisory Council has embraced the challenge of establishing new programs, systems, and criteria for recruiting and developing IREM leaders who will carry the organization forward.
The new Leadership Development Advisory Council springs from a review, beginning in 2020, of IREM governance practices. Three task forces contributed to this review: the Leadership Development Presidential Task Force, the Governance Presidential Task Force, and the Volunteer Presidential Task Force. Their work resulted in a new IREM governance system, with the final phase implemented this year. The Leadership Development Advisory Council is a natural extension of this effort as we seek to build, recruit, and nurture future IREM leaders.
The purpose of the Leadership Development Advisory Council, as defined in the IREM Statement of Policies, is to:
- Develop strategies and execute recruitment, cultivation, and development of volunteers within the organization.
- Build a pipeline for leadership succession.
- Develop training and onboarding programs.
- Establish and execute a leadership mentoring program.
- Establish and refine systems for and monitoring of the performance of volunteers and volunteer groups.
- Establish and refine qualification criteria for volunteer positions, working in conjunction with the Governance Committee and the Nominating Committee.
- Ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Our purpose includes a wide range of priorities and activities. This is a multi-year, ongoing effort to establish an effective, results-oriented system of leadership development that matches IREM’s culture and reflects the importance of leadership in real estate management. In 2023, our focus is to build the framework and begin developing a formal IREM leadership development program.
Hitting the ground running
From the beginning, we recognized that each member of the Leadership Development Advisory Council brings their own unique perspective that we’ll need to tap into to achieve our goals. This shouldn’t be underestimated as an early accomplishment of our group—for the organization to thrive as we move into the future, this variety of perspectives is the only way to reflect the varied experiences of our members. Developing leaders that represent and appreciate this value is critical.
To get additional perspectives on the IREM leadership journey, we surveyed attendees of the 2023 Chapter Leadership Retreat in Chicago. This survey helped us gain insights into what motivated IREM members to take on volunteer leadership roles in their chapters, what they enjoyed about their experience, and what they wished they’d known before taking on their roles. We also asked for their feedback on how IREM can further support volunteer leadership development.
In addition to the contributions Advisory Council members bring to the discussion, we’ll use these insights as we begin developing a formal leadership development program for the Institute.
Developing a framework
IREM has engaged a consultant, Peggy Hoffman of Mariner Management & Marketing, to guide us in our work. Hoffman facilitated a fantastic working session with the Leadership Development Advisory Council in May.
Hoffman walked us through best practices in volunteer management and defined different levels of engagement. This is critical to our work. No one is ready to make strategic contributions to the organization from day one. By identifying the level of engagement a member is comfortable with, we’ll know where they’re starting their IREM journey and how the organization can help them along the way.
Hoffman also helped us customize best practices in leadership development to IREM’s culture and structure, identify the initial components of the leadership development process we’re creating, and determine our next steps.
We’ll keep working hard to establish a leadership development process for IREM volunteers. We’re confident that our work will yield results for the organization. I’m thrilled to be the inaugural chair of the Leadership Development Advisory Council, and I hope you’ll soon be part of the leadership development process we establish by starting or taking the next step in your IREM leadership journey.