J Russell "Russ" Boyce

The Leadership Summit in Chicago August, 2013

By J Russell “Russ” Boyce

It’s time to process all the information presented. How did we get to this leadership position? What motivates us to stay? Most importantly, what motivates the people we will be looking to for support in our presidential year?

2014 President Steve Brown kicked off the Leadership Summit with Maestro Roger Nierenberg conducting a full orchestra, who were seated in the middle of the audience. We all sat there, a little puzzled at the concept at first, but completely absorbed and curious about what was to happen. I remember using the metaphor of orchestra leader in a conversation I once had about my role in renovating houses, though I never really thought about it other than as a quasi job description. But within minutes of the Maestro’s message and analogy it became crystal clear. If we are to be successful leaders we must know how to conduct our state and local “orchestras.”
We saw how intertwined each member of the orchestra is with every other, and with the conductor. We saw that when everyone is in sync the flow and outcome of their production is good. If the conductor sends the wrong message, or sends no message, the orchestra flounders. If musicians don’t take their cues, the orchestra is out of sync. And when they communicate, they make beautiful music.

We’re standing at the podium, as leaders. How do we communicate so that together we make beautiful music? We saw in later presentations that it begins with our relationship with our Association Executive. Understanding our strengths and weaknesses and being honest about it with our AE will be critical in our success as presidents. Being ourselves and not being led by our egos can be the challenge. Being honest about our strengths and weaknesses so our AE has the opportunity to fill in where needed is key. Steve reinforced these messages as he urged us as leaders to “know thyself.”

The only true way for the orchestra to produce beautiful results is for each area of the orchestra to trust the Maestro. As leaders it is our responsibility to understand, to the best of our ability, what each area in our orchestras needs from us, and what we expect from each of them. We must try to understand the uniqueness of each part of our orchestra. No two areas will ever likely be the same.
I learned the importance of establishing the way you wish to be communicated with. I learned that everyone in the orchestra must know what that is, and I must know how they want to communicate.

How can we raise our awareness, even by one degree, and be the best Leaders we can be? Always encourage, and at every opportunity empower everyone we come into contact with. If we can focus on the good in everyone and every situation, we will indeed get the same in return. If we lead by example and set the tone that we want everyone to succeed … our presidential year will be one of the most rewarding parts of our careers. As Steve noted, through the words of Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said and people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”

Russ is a 2012 graduate of the NAR Leadership Academy and President-Elect of the Maryland Association of REALTORS®.

  1. Russ, great review of Maestro Roger Niernberg’s leadership session. As I sat there around those professional musicians while they played I noticed how serious and really intent they were. The watched the Maestro and they concentrated so not as to make one single mistake. They did not smile, they treated their playing as if it were brain surgery. Even after the quit playing they were very serious. They did not smile until the applause started. Throughout the presentation Mr. Niernberg seemed very much in charge and confident. He had full command of all of the musicians and the audience. Afterwards when I spoke with him individually he seemed very shy and reserved…almost bashful. I learned as leaders and Realtors that everyday we need to be serious about what we do and maybe we only really relax after settlement and our clients have given us some applause! Also, our personalities might be that we are shy by nature, but as leaders we must be ready for show time…. and show those that we are leading that we are fully in command. It was a great learning experience!