The Character of REM Capital, Servant Leadership

Jun 2021

Remember and Honor, Memorial Day 2021

Happy Tuesday and welcome back!  I trust you had a relaxing and memorable Memorial Day weekend.  

I took the family to our local Sarasota National Cemetery as part of our annual tradition to do something to commemorate and remember those who have served in the military.  Though thus far almost completely unaffected by war and tragedy, my hope is that my children will gain a better perspective and appreciation for the sacrifices that millions have made to allow them the blessed lives that they (and we) live.  These visits also get me thinking about leadership – and more particularly, servant leadership. 

A picture containing grass, sky, outdoor, field

Description automatically generated

You may wonder what servant leadership has to do with investing in apartments.  It does sound a little odd until you realize that in everything we do, we have an opportunity to make the world a better place.  I’m also a firm believer that the most important research you can do as an investor is learn about your sponsor.  Character and competence – you need both.  This week we’re focused on character. 

I look at the sacrifices that soldiers make to preserve the peace we enjoy and realize I can be a part of that legacy by doing the same in my own company.  A simple glance at our culture and these two words – servant leadership – next to each other would seem an oxymoron.  The goal for most of us is to rise to the top and command an army of workers to enable us to achieve greater things.  It’s all about us and our success!  Hey, nothing wrong with wanting to succeed, but I wonder if we have lost the understanding of servant leadership.  Does the concept of servant leadership still apply today or is it some religious, do-good mentality that does not actually work in the real world?

Consider if I, as your boss, tell you to improve your communication while I continue to neglect my communication with you.  I view the situation as one in which I’m too busy, and I’ve hired you to help me get my job done.  Conversely, I could begin taking an interest in what you are doing and make sure you have all the tools and information you need to excel at your job.  In this situation I view you as valuable and I’m there to ensure your success.  I follow through on my verbal agreements and expect the same of you.  It seems obvious which approach would give better results.  Rather than force communication, invite it by building trust. 

Based on a wide variety of research in many industries (not to mention common sense), we all prefer to be paid fairly, treated fairly, and to be given interesting work for our level of capability.  If we’re all too busy climbing the ladder by focusing on our own capabilities, there’s no time for that.  Servant leadership is about knowing and training our team – not just dumping work on them.  This is where it starts at the top with owners, partners, managers, etc – servant leadership requires being a leader!  We focus on the success of our team and inspire others to follow.  Servant leaders hold themselves more accountable than their employees by being persistent, consistent, and fair.  They figure out ways to bring out the skills and talents in their employees.   It may be a lost art, but I say it’s some of the best work you can do as a leader in your business. 

In our business, I serve a growing team that starts with our onsite leasing agents, community directors, and maintenance supervisors.  They make the magic happen – and when that happens, we all benefit

Hopefully that inspires you a little for the week ahead and beyond!