Successful Real Estate Leaders are Able to Tolerate Unknowns

One of the defining qualities of a leader is the ability to be comfortable making decisions in the midst of uncertainty, according to leadership consultant Julie Benezet, founder and managing principal of Business Growth Consulting.

By Keat Foong, Executive Editor

New York—One of the defining qualities of a leader is the ability to be comfortable making decisions in the midst of uncertainty, according to leadership consultant Julie Benezet, founder and managing principal of Business Growth Consulting.

Benezet, who formerly led Amazon.com’s corporate real estate department, recently spoke to attendees of the Women’s Leadership Forum at CoreNet Global’s spring meeting in New York.

Benezet pointed out that business leadership and management involve two different types of skill sets and executions. Management is concerned with ensuring a business plan goes forward, and the criteria of success and the end point of management projects are “knowns.”

Leadership, however, addresses larger strategic questions and requires the ability to inspire others to believe in a vision. A leader pursues “bigger, scarier, bets” and “to do that, she will have to go down the pathway of not knowing,” said Benezet. A leader who is correctly doing her job will be “traveling to a lot of unknown places” and “be comfortable with the discomfort of not knowing.”

Executives in the world of corporate real estate have to “figure out things long before everyone,” said Benezet. They are faced with a changing work world in which the needs for real estate are fast changing. They will ask a lot of questions for which there may not be answers. Leaders need to be “in a frame of mind that sees strategic opportunities in every moment,” advised Benezet.

To pursue their dreams, Benezet suggested executives identify what drives them in their careers and in overcoming adversities, and what are their defensive mechanisms, such as micro-managing. It is only when they can properly manage their motivators and their blocks or defense mechanisms, that people can effectively pursue their possibilities, she said.