Manage wisely with these tips
n Listen to others actively.
n Engage both verbally and nonverbally.
n Create mentorships with accountability.
n Consider reverse mentorships.
n Encourage work-life balance for employees.
n Teach employees how to plan
their work weeks
“Establishing boundaries between
work and employees’ personal
lives creates healthier, happier
<< Leadership continued from Page 88
serve as mentors and leaders for their employees. This
means guiding them toward true success, not only in
the workplace, but in their lifestyle as well — ensuring
that employees maintain a healthy work-life balance
and develop their skills as mortgage professionals.
Learn to listen
One of the most important tools in a lender’s toolkit
is active listening. As the name suggests, active listening means giving one’s full attention to whoever is
speaking and concentrating on the purpose or intention behind their words.
Oftentimes, and this applies to both management
and staff, individuals will passively listen to others,
only registering what they consider interesting or relevant to themselves within the immediate moment.
All great leaders have been guilty of this at times, but
with diligent work, anyone can learn how to be an
Active listening removes the passive element and
helps one meaningfully engage with others on a personal and professional level. Active listening requires
listeners to not only use nonverbal cues — such as
strong eye contact, facial expressions and posture —
but verbal ones as well.
These can often be the most difficult habits to internalize, but asking thoughtful questions, reflecting or
repeating key phrases, and summarizing what someone has said demonstrates the listener’s interest and
attentiveness. Furthermore, it also helps the listener to
better understand and respond with sound reasoning
that adds value to the conversation.
Employees expect managers and, more importantly,
their leaders to serve as the guiding force in their
day-to-day work lives. A leader who is unable or uninterested in listening to their employees will have a
tough time building an efficient and well-run team.
Not only does active listening help leadership earn
the trust and respect of employees, it also helps them
better understand issues and potential solutions —
which are often provided directly by the employee
and identified through active listening.
Serve as a coach
Learning how to be a responsible, helpful coach can
make all the difference in a team’s success. The industry
has for too long now lacked mentorship programs with
high levels of accountability, training and guidance.
Why is it that mortgage offices are notorious for their
sink-or-swim mentality? This mindset only encourages
employees to overwork themselves and not learn or
engage with their borrowers on a meaningful level.
Additionally, it increases costs as employee turnover
has been proven to be quite expensive.
New mortgage originators are too often encouraged to start pursuing loans with little more than a
week or two of training. Considering a home is one of
the most important buying decisions in a person’s life,
lenders should strive to provide a high-level of service
throughout the process. This is impossible for new
staff without the guidance and abilities of an experienced mortgage mentor.
Just as working with borrowers requires a soft
touch and the heart of a teacher, so too does working
with employees. For leaders, it’s not so much getting
employees to do their jobs perfectly 100 percent of
the time, as it is helping them to learn the skills nec-
essary to accomplish their daily tasks and learn from
This can be accomplished by pairing inexperienced
home-loan specialists with those employees who
have a proven track record of success. This way, newer
employees can learn the ropes and, eventually, work
toward achieving the same level of skill as their
Learning does not stop, however, even after years of
service. The pace of technology today is rapidly changing how borrowers engage with lenders and even the
mortgage process as a whole.
Not only do inexperienced employees require a
mentor, but industry veterans do as well. This can
even happen in the form of “reverse mentorships,”
where experienced professionals can learn from their
newer colleagues who are familiar with the latest
forms of technology, particularly in social media, sales
and marketing techniques.
Establishing boundaries between work and employees’ personal lives creates healthier, happier mortgage
professionals. Unfortunately, this is an area where the
industry as a whole is woefully lacking.
There also is a tendency to encourage employees
to work well beyond the traditional work week. All
too often intelligent and skilled mortgage professionals come into the business with a passion for serving others, only to have the business slowly take over
their personal lives as well.
While there are moments in everyone’s career
where additional time and effort are needed to com-
plete a project or serve a client, it is only to the detri-
ment of an employee’s physical, mental and emotional
health to have that occur on a consistent basis. In all
frankness, doing so also hurts the business they work
for by encouraging other high-value recruits to fall
into a similar pattern. It also increases the likelihood
for costly mistakes to occur at any step of the mortgage
process through carelessness and lack of attention
To combat this trend, it’s necessary for leadership
to step up and help employees build positive habits
that allow them to balance their personal and professional lives. This can be accomplished simply through
leading by example.
Just as employees should maintain a positive work-life balance, so too should their supervisors and
managers. In this way, employees not only learn the
ins and outs of the mortgage business from those
experienced mentors, but they also learn how to
manage their priorities and day-to-day workload.
Proper planning also is important to maintaining a
healthy mindset. Rather than haphazardly approaching each week, help employees map out their days
and weeks through the use of planning meetings and
action charts or lists. This helps them build daily discipline and move through their week with purpose,
which ensures they will be at home (and focused on
being at home) at the end of each and every day.
Lead with purpose
Leadership in the service of others is an ideal that all
managers should strive for. Gathering together a team
of mortgage professionals, whether in a one-room
shop, branch network or on a multinational business,
is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.
Employees will look to leadership for more than
guidance and a strategic mission, but also for how they
should conduct themselves and work with borrowers.
With proper planning and a commitment to continued
learning and education, business leaders can engage
with their employees on a meaningful level and instill
in them a commitment to success.
After all, an office is much more than just a business
venture. It’s a place where productive, talented people collaborate daily. Many will even stake their future
careers and livelihoods on such opportunities. It’s a
leader’s job to recognize and reward this commitment
by listening to their needs, coaching them through
problems and providing a clearly-defined vision for
the future that allows employees to live well-balanced
and successful lives.
n n n
People are a business’s most valuable and prized
assets. If an organization treats their teammates well,
it will reap the rewards of a productive, excited work-force. One way to accomplish this is to listen, coach
and mentor well. n