- Bess Freedman, the CEO of Brown Harris Stevens, has led her New York City real-estate brokerage while working remotely and dealing with uncertainty this year.
- Now that her office and the real estate market has opened up again, she has begun going back into work and has adjusted her leadership strategies accordingly.
- In an interview with Business Insider, she shared insights on her leadership during these trying times.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Bess Freedman is the CEO of Brown Harris Stevens, a real-estate brokerage in New York City.
Freedman began working from her three-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side on March 21. For months, she was forced to lead her business from her home.
"I created this routine where I get up every day and I do these rituals," she said. "It's kept me positive. It's kept me focused. You have to do it if you're going to be able to survive this successfully."
Now, four months later, Freedman is back in the office, but things are far from business as usual.
"I'm 100% back at the office, I feel better coming in," she said, adding that her agents are not showing up the office as much as they did in more normal times.
She said some workers now feel more comfortable working remotely and the way people do business has shifted, especially in real estate.
So, how can a leader effectively lead in the midst of all these changes? In an interview with Business Insider, Freedman revealed one of the most important things leaders should be focusing on right now.
Anyone in a management position right now should focus on empowerment
While empowerment is a key factor when it comes to leadership in all climates, Freedman explained that it's one of the things people in management should be focusing the most on right now.
"You want to listen to them [the team], and you want to communicate with them as often as possible," she said.
Looking specifically at New York City and its real estate market, so many aspects of doing business right now are unprecedented, and it can be woefully discouraging for anyone whose job it is to navigate through it.
"I would encourage anybody who is in leadership to stay optimistic," Freedman explained. "You have to stay in complete touch with your group of people."
Leaders also need to encourage their workers to do the things they feel are important, she continued. Listen to their concerns and be open-minded when it comes to coming up with potential solutions.
This outlook isn't new for Freedman; in fact it's the same mindset she has had for months.
"We have companywide conference calls or webinars, depending on the day. It's important to keep everyone connected and informed." She said they talk about everything from state of the market to social-media best practices and health- and-wellness tips.
And the responsibility to empower stretches far beyond just work.
As Freedman explained, she encourages her agents and staff to focus on their health, both physical and mental.
"I encourage all of my agents and staff to take time out to exercise, whether it's a walk or yoga or something a little more intense. It's a great way to beat cabin fever and keep your endorphins up," all things people need during uncertain times.
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