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Now is the time for real estate leaders to show us the way to the new paradigm

Is the real estate sector on the brink of a leadership crisis? The traditional hierarchical leadership style is not sufficiently in tune with the societal and digital challenges we face. The need for purpose-driven leadership is growing and transformative innovation is necessary.

The real estate sector is at a rare moment in its history, as we experience a shift in the personal, organizational, and industrial context. As society, we are moving from the dominant industrial, information paradigm to a sustainable, digital, global knowledge paradigm (read about researcher Carlota Perez), characterized by changes in the way we lead, follow, and organize. This paradigm is fueled by major societal issues and trends, including digitization. It is a (r)evolution and will have far-reaching consequences, as will the transition from agriculture to industrial production.

In the new paradigm it is no longer possible to lead based on power, but only to lead based on who you really are. There can no longer be much difference between the behavior that leaders show the world and who they really are. The people who work with these kinds of leaders feel this, making these leaders less effective. The end of the monkey rock is insight. Leadership is no longer about the mountain top, the scepter, and the throne and about power, but comes from the heart of the leader in the heart of the organization.

An inner journey

Today’s real estate leaders can play an important role in the transformation to the new paradigm. They can help by stimulating new ideas and showing new behavior. Leadership is about being able to make a difference in the world you want to live in and making connections between the inner and outer worlds. People choose to work for organizations because they agree with their purpose, but they leave when they no longer have respect for their boss. They want a leader who gives them space, who is reliable, respectful, compassionate, and visionary. Someone who gives them a feeling of connection, a feeling that they are cared for, who makes them feel safe, who recognizes and acknowledges them as individuals and goes with the times.

Real estate leaders can only embody these qualities if they know who they really are. To know who they are, leaders will have to make the journey inside. They can no longer work with their brains alone but also need heart and soul. To make the connection with their colleagues, they first must get the connection with themselves clear. This does not mean that all leaders must first go to the top of a mountain like hermits, to meditate or to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony. There are many ways to get to your purpose, or your ikigai. Ultimately, the journey within makes the leader a better person and a more effective leader. A leader exists by the grace of his followers. Followers feel intuitively whether the leaders connect with them. Only when they feel the connection are they willing to go the extra mile. And in the end, leaders do not create more followers. They create more leaders.

Wanted: purpose-driven leaders

Every day, real estate leaders are challenged to grow their business, making it necessary to innovate and shape the real estate business of tomorrow. Fortunately, leadership is not limited to people in executive positions. Informal leaders can make a difference: the innovation manager who organizes a hackathon on his own initiative, the analyst who improves the living environment in her street.

We all know that the world’s greatest societal challenges can be solved by businesses. Businesses can do well by doing good. By unlocking people's potential leaders empower them to take actions that are better for the world, good for business, and life-changing for them and the ecosystem. We need purpose-driven real estate leaders who actively drive dialogue, action, and change to reshape the built environment. For Good. We need leaders who use (digital, physical, and nature) technology as a lever to make a positive impact to societal challenges. We need leaders who are open to meaningful, surprising cross-industry partnerships, share knowledge and build thought leadership to create responsible, resilient, and regenerative environment. The time is now. Are you the leader we are looking for?


Menno Lammers

The PropTech for Good alliance connects CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and sustainability leaders from all around the world to start meaningful collaborations, exchange knowledge, and built thought leadership to create a responsible, resilient, and regenerative environment. Join the alliance and become a partner.

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