Throughout the month of August, Connect CRE is running a series titled “Leading in Tough Times.” We’ve asked leaders around the U.S. and across the commercial real estate spectrum to share their wisdom and discuss lessons learned. In this installment, you’ll hear from Julia Baytler, CEO of Landmark Companies.

Q: What’s the most common mistake leaders make in an inhospitable market?

A: The most common mistake business leaders make in a hostile environment is that they are not transparent and honest in themselves, their management team or their partners. As a leader, one must face challenges head-on. Have a practical strategy of how to deal with issues that impede progress. I think in times like these, it’s very important to have a strategy in place to take care of your team and partners. In our case, we focus on the details in our daily business, i.e. our reporting to our LPs, controlling hard and soft, leasing velocity on our established assets, and growing our footprint in the Texas, Florida, and Colorado multifamily markets. We have a focused business plan on garden-style apartments in growth markets. Obviously, as with most things, this tough economy will pass. We will build upon our strategy of building high-quality apartments for great tenants! We are excited about our future.

Q: What leadership advice would you like to give your younger self? 

A: I would tell my younger self to widen my perch and get out of your comfort zone. Execution is critical to any great idea. Although as a woman I look at things through a different lens than my male counterparts, the goal is the same. High quality, on time, and accountability. I lean on past success as an investment banking professional, attorney, and developer.  I have and will continue to make good decisions in both bad and good markets.

Q: What’s the most valuable leadership advice you’ve ever been given?

A: Undoubtedly, the best advice I was given was to surround myself with the right people. This has proven to be the most valuable skill, especially in these uncertain economic times. You’re only as good as your team is and I’ve been fortunate to have assembled a great team around me. And this is not just in terms of their professionalism but in terms of their personality and human qualities. I think this was and is the most important advice I received, and I continue to pass that advice on to others.

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