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4 Guiding Principles of Effective Leadership

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As a young girl, Tami Bonnell would often accompany her dad, who worked in the construction field, as he went to meet customers and collect rent. In doing so, she saw her father’s compassionate nature, especially with those who were struggling.

Those times emphasized the importance of “windshield time” — an opportunity to meet with someone in person, without interruptions, to ask questions and focus solely on them. That practice now helps Bonnell, the co-chair of EXIT Realty Corp. International, to develop a deeper personal connection and understanding of what others may be going through.   

Bonnell is an internationally renowned speaker and 30-plus-year veteran in the real estate industry. She keeps those childhood memories close.

  1. Share the Love in Public  

As a leader, Bonnell strongly believes in showing “the love in public” with those who work for her but holding serious conversations related to improvement in private. 

 “As many times as you possibly can, share the love in public and really catch them doing something good and keep notes so that you’re following up with that,” she said. 

“But if you whispered in their ear a couple of times and pointed them in the right direction and they’re not grasping it, it’s time to sit down and have that one-on-one conversation,” she added. “It might even be time to sit down and put it in writing. But by then, I think most people realize what they’re doing and not doing.” 

  1. Recruiting the Right Members 

Bonnell said she first looks to see that potential hires have done a “little bit of homework” prior to their first interview. She also wants to know that they are “really engaged and paying attention.” 

 “I want to see them passionate about something. I really want to know what their dreams are and that they have dreams,” she added. “I don’t want somebody that’s just going to come in and fill a void. It really needs to be somebody that’s going to be part of the team.”

  1. A Commitment to Her Own Growth 

As a leader, Bonnell is always on the quest to grow and learn from others. Sometimes it may be insights from other leaders or colleagues. Or she may find clarity in one of the nearly 300 books she reads a year.  

 “If I’m not growing, how can I expect the people that follow me to grow? And I think it’s really important to grow not just in business but personally [as well],” she added.  

She also advises that leaders block off four hours a month to “work on your life, not in it.”  

“Keep every facet of your life in that and plan in advance,” she stressed. “You’ll maximize on experiences, and you’ll see progress all the time.”   

Bonnell said that there is another effective method she uses to reach her business and personal goals — she sets targets, establishes timelines, follows strategic tactics and has the tenacity to follow through on her plan.   

  1. Focus on the Solution    

When times are challenging, there is one rule she always follows.

“Only focus on the solution,” she stressed. “Never focus on the problem.” 

 It’s important for leaders who are going through a difficult season, to remember that every other successful leader, no matter who they are, has overcome adversity at some point.  

“Remind yourself of that,” she advised those who may be struggling. “Remind yourself what did you do when you were going through that tough time and that you made it through.”  

More about Tami Bonnell

Among her many industry accolades, Bonnell has been named to the Swanepoel Power 200 as one of the most powerful leaders and executives in the residential real estate industry consecutively from 2016-2023.  In 2023, she was also awarded the prestigious RISMedia Power Broker Real Estate Leadership Award, sponsored by Buffini & Company.

The Curious CEO

In a recent interview on “The Curious CEO,” hosted by Buffini CEO Dermot Buffini, Bonnell shared the philosophies and best practices she has used to rise to the top of the industry while still finding time to devote to her family and her passions. 

 Watch The Curious CEO with Tami Bonnell now.

Subscribe now to access and be alerted to the latest episodes that will provide insight and perspective to inform and empower your leadership journey.

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