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Leading by Ear

March 02, 2016 | John Salustri

Unless you’re engaging your staff, your strategies might be doomed to failure. That’s the message Yasuto Ute, CPM, CCIM, delivers in the January/February issue of JPM. Ute is president of New Metropolitan Integrated Management in Kanagawa, Japan.

Simply stated, strategies without buy-in fall short. “When strategies are handed down from management without the input of employees, [staff members] often feel excluded,” Ute writes.

The result? Under-performance. The solution? Motivate your people by employing the art of listening as a leadership skill.

A continuous cycle of disengagement can result in a functional logjam between employer and staff, Ute believes. “Leaders become frustrated by employees’ inability to understand what they are trying to communicate,” he writes. Employees, for their part, can’t find meaning in what they do, and a stalemate occurs.

Ute is a volunteer in three associations in addition to his full-time pursuits. He can’t get things done without the support of his staff. That leads to certain clear realities: “My real job is to get the buy-in of other employees and volunteers so they can actively participate in shared goals.”

The author draws on his own former experience at a residential housing firm where he was in charge of sales. Dealing with uninspired numbers, Ute says he engaged staffers and their bosses alike “to figure out what the problems were” and define strengths and weaknesses. “We would talk about everything, from private issues and happiness to their life goals and dreams. The more I listened, the more they opened up . . . and felt valued and began to take ownership of their projects.”

Did the process turn all performers into sales superstars? No. “But they ended up doubling and tripling their sales.” And of course, this result reflects directly on the performance of a true leader.

John Salustri is one of the nation’s most respected writers in the field of Commercial Real Estate. A multiple award winner for excellence in journalism, John is the founding editor of, the nation’s premier news and information site for the commercial real estate industry. Today John is a freelance writer and editor, focusing on helping companies boost their industry presence through enhanced web and print content. 

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