When you woke up this morning and got ready for work, did you stop to think about what kind of leader you wanted to be? Do you want to be a real leader or someone who is perceived as a leader because you know how to fake it to get by? In a world where success is hard to come by, it’s easy to see how people fall to negative forces that push you to be guarded or deceptive. The mortgage industry is in dire need of genuine leaders who are willing to take the high road to success and motivate others to follow suit.
Different situations in the mortgage world call for different leadership approaches, depending on needs and objectives. Ultimately, the goal of any leader is to get results, but at what cost?
There are two types of people in the world of leadership: Those who are actually great leaders; and those who wish to slide by and merely be seen as great leaders.
The best leaders know who they are, they are in touch with their true self, and more importantly, they know what they value and what’s unacceptable. Tzu-Ssu, a Chinese philosopher and grandson of Confucius, said it best: “Sincerity is the fulfillment of our own nature, and to arrive at it, we need only follow our own true self.” It takes some time and self-understanding, but if you can assess what values you believe in, then you can choose the impact you want to have in the mortgage industry. People around you will recognize the positivity you bring out in human nature, and they will consider you a safe point around whom strong teams can develop and achieve success together.
We see fraud everywhere: Politics, religion, education, and in the business world. Fraud, if achieved, is a less costly means to an end than actually doing the work. However, fraud will take you further than you are probably willing to go, and in the end, cost you more than you are willing to pay. Fraud almost always catches up with you; exposing your true, so-called leadership, or lack thereof.
In 2012, mortgage fraud was on the rise again after being relatively flat for about a year, according to CoreLogic. Their report estimated approximately $12 billion in fraudulent activity over the year. With recent mortgage regulations at an all-time high, you would think fraud would be on the decline. The penalties and incentives aren’t there for brokers to engage in fraudulent behavior. Or so you would think …
Great leaders in the mortgage industry must practice constant vigilance in the ethics of how business is conducted. You must create a culture of high ethical standards, so dangerous incentives don’t throw you into a downward spiral. If shortcuts produce success, and that success is rewarded, you may find your entire office cutting corners to get ahead. Instead, ethics must come first and results, second.
You must instill a “Buck Stops Here” mentality, and measure successful results with accurate measurement of how they were obtained. With all of the changes and negative stereotypes of the mortgage industry, we need such leaders more than ever before. The temptation and opportunity to commit fraud is there, but being aware of it is your first step to achieving true leader status.
K. Justin Restaino is vice president of Titan List & Mailing Services Inc. For more than 13 years, he has led Titan’s Mortgage Division, helping lenders of all capacities grow their businesses utilizing targeted direct mail. With a specialized focus in refinance and purchase markets, Restaino has the insight for proper data and mail application for success. He may be reached by phone at (800) 544-8060, ext. 204 or e-mail [email protected]