Leading in Times of Crisis

March 24, 2020

When merging a new independent brokerage into his company, Bo Menkiti had a realization. The brokerage’s owners, former Marines, talked to Bo about the experience of being in combat in times of crisis. In those moments, they shared, the mind is already dealing with overcoming fear, so you have to get into action mode.

“One of the big aha’s for me was that we have to give clearer, directive action to our teams,” Bo – who runs the Menkiti Group alongside his wife, Kymber Menkiti – says.

The husband-and-wife power duo are no strangers to heavy-lifting leadership. Their business is set up as a mega-agent sales team, and both serve as regional directors –  Kymber in Maryland and D.C., and Bo within Virginia and West Virginia. Their leadership touches 7,000 to 10,000 people on the real estate side, as well as 83 full-time employees. And, in these changing times, the most important thing is to show up as a leader.

“We can focus on the things we can’t control, or we can focus every day on what we do have the ability to get up and do in our industry,” Kymber says. “Even if it’s not perfect, we have to get into motion and assess where we are and think about where we’re going next.” 

A Two-Pronged Approach to Leadership

According to them, being a leader during times of crisis is a two-pronged approach. It’s about:

  • How directive you are as a leader (how you leverage your people), and 
  • How you get your people to take action and execute on their end.

“This is the time for leaders to be present,” Bo says. “This is a time when teams get born.” Those statements lay on a ground of personal experience. In 2006, Bo co-founded Keller Williams Capital Properties. Shortly after, the market crashed. “We were brand-new to the business and we had an opportunity to just dig into the models and systems and leverage The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” he shares.

In that time, there was no option but to keep going, and they actually ended up growing. “In many ways, that growth opportunity was driven because of what was happening around us and how we managed to step into it.”

Rise to the Occasion

As it turns out, a crisis should be taken as an opportunity – not in business, but in assessing the world around you. Who steps up as a leader? How are those around you responding to pressure? Who is thinking about themselves? Who is rising to the occasion? This is the time to really understand where those around you stand.

“We’ve learned a lot about the dynamics of our team and the people we work with,” Bo says.

But, in order to reap the benefits of learning, as a leader you must:

  • Trust that people will get their jobs done and your teammates will do what they need to do.
  • Have a genuine care and concern for your people.
  • Make time for human interaction, and encourage your team to do so as well. 
  • Overcommunicate, and always spark dialogue about what you’re seeing in the industry and what your people should be focusing on.

“After I take my game face off, get off the livestream, and go home, I’m worried,” shares Bo. “I have some fears and I have to get through them. We know everyone is dealing with that. Finding those moments and building human bonds – those are the things that get cemented in these times.”

Remember, the world is massively interconnected, both globally and within smaller communities. “When people get afraid, there’s a tendency to trigger that fight or flight response and isolate themselves,” Bo says. “Now is a time when leaders need to stay together because we are truly stronger together.”

Pivot: Shift Ahead

To access livestreams, on-demand video, and other helpful resources that will help you navigate the changing business landscape, visit (and bookmark) the Pivot: Shift Ahead homepage. 

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