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Recruiting, Training and Mentoring Corner: Are You a Manager or a Leader?

Dave Hershman
May 13, 2016

We have previously painted the “picture” of a typical manager in the industry because most sales managers and owners must personally produce, recruit, hire, train and coach. For most of these managers, producing was a full-time job before they became a manager. Now that same person must split up their time among these tasks:

►Personal production
Fighting fires
Attracting candidates
Administrative tasks
And more

The time spent among these tasks is not homogenous by any means. The majority of the time is spent producing, fighting fires and on administrative tasks. For example, a typical producing sales managers spends an average of 50 percent or more of their time within the personal production category.

It is important to recognize this fact because it leads us to understand why the industry produces managers as opposed to grooming leaders. Not only have we put our managers in a position in which they are more likely to spend their time reacting and putting out fires rather than leading. In addition, we give these same managers little guidance as to how to make the transition from manager to leadership.

After painting the picture of the industry, we must next look at the definition of the term leader. If you asked one-hundred different management experts, you would get 100 different answers. We prefer something very simple: Managers “manage” situations, while leaders change situations through the implementation of positive forces.

Of course, this definition is worthless without elaboration in the form of examples which distinguish between leadership and management:

A manager has goals, while a leader also has a long-term vision of where they would like to lead their team. It is from this vision in which an organization’s goals must be formulated. For employees—understanding the vision is essential so that they can become more than just an employee, but an integral team member.

A manager tells people what to do. A leader leads by example. For example, how does the leader react in a crisis? Do they panic or do they lead the team through the crisis professionally?

Managers micro-manage, while leaders delegate. By delegating responsibility and not micro-managing, leaders let their team members determine what they should be accomplishing with regard to helping the organization achieve their long-term vision.

A manager quells fires while a leader prevents them. The foresight to prevent fires is a very important example of leadership.

A manager communicates when necessary. A leader communicates proactively. Going back to the example of having a long-term vision, the leaders must communicate that vision clearly. When does a manager think that communication is necessary? Usually when things go wrong. Then it is time for a long e-mail, new policy or a meeting.

A good manager implores their loan officers to follow-up, from the prospect stage to closing their pipeline. Leaders lead by example in this regard as well, whether they are managing their own pipeline or following with their staff. If the manager does not return phone calls and e-mail on a timely basis, how can they expect their loan officers to do the same?

Good managers hire producers. Leaders retain those producers. Leaders work hard to uncover and meet the needs of their employees. That means they must probe deeply and be a great listener. This is again where follow-up and communication skills are essential. It is sometimes not easy to determine where our employees need help, however, spending the time and effort to find out is critical.

Good managers are great talkers. Leaders are great listeners. Yes, we often have to teach and inspire as leaders. But if we don’t listen, we will never find out what our employees really need. Even in interviews, we should be asking questions and listening, rather than talking.

A leader’s integrity can never be in question. Again, this brings us back to being an example. If we are not “THE” example in this regard, how can we not expect the same from our loan officers and operational staff? Many walk a fine line in this industry, but leaders must stand very clear of this line.

Managers are reactionary, but because leaders are proactive, they are likely to be more consistent in their direction of leadership. Managers are more likely to schedule a staff meeting when there is a catastrophe or send out an “effective immediately” e-mail? Leaders schedule meetings on a regular basis to prevent these issues from arising. Employees can count on their leader’s reaction day-to-day, while the reaction of a manager will vary.

A great leader carries a positive message all the time, while the manager is not as consistent in this regard. The leader’s positive message will influence team members to be more positive, thus increasing the effectiveness of the organization. This positive message should include thanking employees and clients often. Even the way the message is carried out is important. When a leader is “criticizing or pointing out a mistake,” it should be done in private. When a leader is lavishing praise, this should be accomplished in public.

Most importantly, managers realize that recruiting is one of their most important functions, yet most managers dedicate the smallest portion of their time to this task. The result is a smaller team whose members are not of the highest quality. The time needed to manage this team which is generating little income is very. disproportionate. The result? The manager spends more time producing because they can control the outcome and then they spend even less time recruiting.

This is precisely why one key to great leadership is a long-term vision of the future. The vision is to build a large quality team which increases profits and overrides. While the income of the sales manager may not rise, the office or division will not be as dependent upon one person’s production. What if the manager becomes ill and the level of production suffers or stops completely? If the manager has a large and productive office, the profitability of that office will not suffer to the same extent.

It typically requires great vision to begin spending time on a task that will bring longer-term rewards, but perhaps sacrifice short-term benefit. How might we bring our time and priorities into greater equilibrium? It is easy for us to say—block an hour each day to recruit. But someone directing the manager to block the time does not make the time available.

Anytime one has too many tasks to undertake and not enough time to accomplish these tasks, there are only two choices:

Prioritize the tasks: Again, this is an example of what great leaders do, they decide what is more important and focus upon these tasks. Other tasks may be delegated to others, postponed or even eliminated.

Use synergy: If you want to get more done in less time, you will need to find a way to achieve more than one goal with the same activity. We will delve into this idea in a future column.

The implementation of synergistic principals will not only increase productivity, it will also help lessen the stress of manager who has several areas of responsibilities, all of which could be full-time jobs by themselves. In my book, More Income With Less Stress, I introduce “The Seven Rules of Maximum Synergy Marketing.”

These rules will help managers achieve more with less time, energy and money. Loan officers also benefit from the use of these principals as there are many parallels between recruiting and sales. The greater proficiency managers gain with regard the use of these concepts, the more effective they will be as mentors to their loan officer team. As a matter of fact, the implementation of this concept as way to achieve two management objectives is an illustration of the use of synergy in itself.

The rules are designed to help one open their eyes to the opportunities they are missing. To implement these, managers will have to change the way they think about the industry and management in general. This is a major step which will help increase efficiencies, but also help differentiate managers from their competition.

Here are the rules:

1. Everything you do must have a second objective.
2. If you are marketing by yourself—you are wasting synergy.
3. Some targets are more effective than others.
4. Some tools are more effective than others.
5. Everything you do can be made more effective through additional doses of synergy.
6. Do not market without a response mechanism.
7. Do not market unless you are delivering value.

We will end this column with an exercise that will hopefully help us start thinking like a leader, instead of a manager. The question is-how can the implementation of these rules help you increase the efficiency of your recruitment efforts?

It has been well-established by the information we have introduced that there are many fundamental differences between managers and leaders in this industry. Our industry has a tremendous number of managers. However, what we need is more leadership. Hopefully we can continue to help our managers make the transition in this regard.

Dave Hershman is a top author in the mortgage industry with seven books published. He is also the founder of the OriginationPro Marketing System, and currently the director of branch support for McLean Mortgage. He may be reached by e-mail at or visit

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.

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