Team players wanted

Sure, conducting formal interviews
is a necessity, but sometimes, it’s
good to take a potential employee out of the work environment.

Chauncey C. Mayfield, president and
CEO of MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors
LLC, says that if he is interested in hiring
somebody, he meets that person for a
drink outside the office. He finds
that doing so allows him or her to
relax and gives Mayfield a better
idea of who that person is.

“In a social setting, even
though you are talking to a
potential employer, in a social
setting, people tend not to be
as guarded,” says Mayfield,
who oversees the real estate
investment management company, which has about $1 billion worth of assets under

Smart Business spoke with
Mayfield about how to be a team
player while leading the team
and how to communicate that
team concept to employees.

Q: What are the keys to being a
good leader?

First and foremost, for me
at least, is you’ve got to set a
clear direction — what are
you trying to accomplish,
how you intend to get there,
what gives the people
around you confidence that
you have both the personal acumen, professional acumen as well as the
resources to get where you are trying to
get to?

The second thing, I think, you have to
demonstrate that you’re not simply a
leader but a team player who happens to
lead the team. My leadership style is to
demonstrate to my team I am capable
and will, in other words, get my hands
dirty with them, right beside them.

The last point about leadership, I
believe, is you have to be able to pick a
team where people clearly understand the
strength of the team is in the whole, not in the individual. Absolutely no one individual will, in every single circumstance, dictate the success of the team. My responsibility on a day-to-day basis, and I say this
almost daily, my job is to protect the
whole, not an individual. An individual
that is running counter to the success of
the whole, it’s my job to deal with.

Q: How do you monitor the strength of the

It first begins with fit. I interview every
single person that comes to work for us.
I don’t care if it is the receptionist or the
chief investment officer.

I spend time, and what I am trying to
determine is, I’m trying to understand
how you would fit within our organization. What I am looking for is your ability to work within the team. I look for,
‘How important is it to you to be singled
out as the reason we’re successful? How important is it to you that you need
ongoing confirmation of your worth?’

Because that, in my opinion, is an individual player. So, I start with fit to see if
you fit within the organization.

And if we’ve picked the right person,
then by virtue of the assignments people
are given, you can tell whether or not
they are working individually, working
within the team. The way you
do that, the way we monitor
that, is that not all the assignments come from their direct
report. The assignments may
come directly from me.

The second thing is that the
direct report, while he or she has
responsibilities for the group or
for that division, I interact with
the people under them directly. I
do not delegate my interactions
with people.

Q: How do you make employees
understand they need to be team

What we try hard to convey is
that if you were to envision our
environment as a basketball team,
while you may be on the starting
five, the guy you are defending
may, in fact, be a better player than
you, and there is just no way you
can stop him from scoring. You can
do one of two things. One, somebody can come in off the bench and
help, or you can switch players. So
[you say], ‘You defend that guy; I’ll
switch over to this guy.’ The most important thing we want people to understand
is there may be a task that may not be
your strong suit, and it’s OK to say, ‘I
need help.’ You don’t get penalized for it.

You get penalized, in fact, if we fail, and
then you said, ‘I really wasn’t cut out to
do that task anyway.’ We encourage people to say, A, ‘That’s not my strong suit,’
or B, ‘I simply need help in order to
make the deadline.’

HOW TO REACH: MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors LLC, (313)
221-1270 or