Passive Investor? Fan of the podcast? Looking to learn about syndication? Welcome to Life Bridge Capital!

WS1499:  Taking Care of Your People as Their Leader | Whitney Sewell

Taking care of your people is one of the keys to great leadership. It’s the secret sauce that fosters healthy relationships and holds organizations together. But how can leaders invest in their biggest asset in the organization to empower them?

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

In today’s episode, Life Bridge Capital founder Whitney Sewell shares his experience with what it means to genuinely take care of people. Listen as Whitney reveals nuggets of leadership wisdom that both young and old enterprise leaders can learn from.

Key Points From This Episode: 

  • What did his mentor tell him to transform his leadership skills?
  • How compassion for employees is critical when it comes to leadership?
  • Specific ways on how leaders can take care of their teams.
  • Why gratitude is important in promoting corporate culture?
  • Why does the unlimited PTO policy work?
  • How leaders can use delegation to grow and scale?
  • How asking questions can help empower employees?

Tweet This!

“You don’t have meetings to just have meetings.”

“You have to truly care about them, about your people.”

“It’s incredible to see how the Lord has worked through our leaders and through the employees, and how we’ve been able to step in and help them and say, ‘Hey, we care about you.'”

“I’m okay with them taking time off almost anytime they need to or want to, as long as they’re overachieving along these they’re achieving their goals.”

“I encourage you to encourage them to take time off, right with their spouse, with their children. It’s only going to come back to you many times over by caring about them in that way.”

“If you want to scale if you want to grow, you have to delegate, and you have to empower your people to do things, and trust them.”

“What I want is for them to come up with a decision. And they may have a different decision than you and at that point, you can discuss it.”

“And so hopefully, you’re asking questions, and they’re teaching you things that you didn’t know.”

“I started this voluntary journal meeting. So it’s not anything complicated, but it’s more so who’s motivated, who wants to be held somewhat accountable, right for this thing.”

“And I know that if I don’t harness some of that motivation, and empower them, they’re gonna go do it for somebody else.”

“Remember, they are your most important asset. And, you know, as you grow, they’re your biggest asset.”

Links Mentioned:

Life Bridge Capital website

Listen to the Real Estate Syndication Show Podcast

Send an email to Life Bridge Capital

Invest with Life Bridge Capital

About Whitney Sewell

Founder of Life Bridge Capital LLC, Whitney began his real estate investing career in 2009. Whitney’s passion is working with investors, helping them secure financial security via the exceptional opportunities that multifamily syndication offers. Whitney hosts The Real Estate Syndication Show, a daily podcast where he has now interviewed over 1400 experts providing cutting-edge tools and strategies of the syndication business. 

 Whitney and his wife Chelsea are on a mission to help other families through the process of adoption. They have personally endured the financial burdens that the process puts on families and have committed 50% of their profits to this goal, through The Life Bridge Foundation.

Full Transcript


Whitney Sewell (WS): If you want to scale, if you want to grow, you have to delegate and you have to empower your people to do things and trust them. That’s the thing here, you have to be able to trust them that they’re going to do it the best that they can.

This is your Daily Real Estate Syndication Show. I’m your host, Whitney Sewell. Well, I have done a number of shows recently about different types of meetings, and ways to communicate better within your organization are the things that we have learned and are implementing the best that we can, where it’s improving all the time. Every time we have another one of these types of meetings, it gets better, it gets more fluid, the employee knows more about what to expect, and it starts to flow better, right? You were building relationships with them. And there’s more shared, right? You’re able to react or provide better guidance as a leader within your organization. And it just helps in so many ways. You don’t have meetings to just have meetings. 

But ultimately, I want to share with you a little bit about how your team is your biggest asset. I mean, your people are so important. And I so often see this overlooked, and I just think you are the worst off for it as a leader and as a business owner, it doesn’t function as well, right? When people do not feel cared for. I wanna just express some ways that we are doing that. I wanna share also a story with you, how a friend of mine, something he is going through and how it’s him asking me some questions about this, and me sharing it with them. How it’s helped me to get better. He’s in a very different industry, and he was asking me about this situation. 

And actually, this has happened over the last couple years. And within this business, he’s been at this company for a number of years. I’m gonna give you a little story here, because I know it’s gonna help you and your business, and it’s helped me. And then he, from what I understand, so he’s grown in this business a lot. He was an early employee; it’s grown. They have a number of employees now. And he is desiring to lead, right? He’s desiring to lead a team. He’s grown a lot in his role. And I think technically he has people under him.

But here’s the thing: he’s not empowered by his supervisor to lead. And if anything, his supervisor feels threatened by him, right? He has grown in this role. His supervisor feels like he should be the one that knows all, right? You come to me, I know all types of mentality, which is wrong, is so crippling, for that supervisor, for that leader. And it’s so crippling, for his team. It’s sad, it’s really a sad place. It’s not coming from a place of humble leadership.

So I was talking to a mentor the other day about this and it’s really just their leadership skills. I feel like this person is such a good leader. And I knew this is gonna help you to hear why I’m like, stressing so much about caring for your people. And some ways that we’re doing this. I was talking to this mentor about the ways they have led so well with their people, their organization. And the first thing out of this person’s mouth was, “You have to care about them.”

You, you have to truly care about them, about your people. And you know, I do care about my people. But at this time, I thought, okay, still, I’m not there yet. I want to just continue improving in this way. And I want to continue to show that I care about my people and our employees, and I do. I do care about them, their families, but maybe I don’t express it well enough. And maybe I don’t take the time to show that, right? And to learn about them and to build that relationship. And, and so that’s where a number of these meetings have come out of to even, especially another show where I talked about alignment meetings. If you haven’t listened that you should, if you are leading anybody, or if you just wanna learn more about Life Bridge Capital, it would help you to hear a little more about how we are working internally.

But you know, this mentor, he’s just like, well, you just have to care about them. And so, you know, that sounds so simple. It’s like how do you show that you care about them as their leader. And oftentimes, again, people will steer away from anything personal, right? And you obviously don’t wanna dig into somebody’s personal life. 

But as you are meeting with them, especially one on one, you’re having those alignment meetings, you’re going to know more about them personally. You’re going to know about their spouse, you’re going to know about their children, and if you don’t know their spouse’s name, and they at least have many children they have or something about their children, hopefully, you know their kids names over some time, a short period of time hopefully you’ve learned those things. 

And as you take notes, which I talked about during that alignment meeting, as well as you take notes about this person when they share about their spouse, when they share about their kids or children’s names, ages — those things, write it down so you can go back. And oftentimes at the very top of that document, I’ll put, you know, their spouses name, or kids names or ages. And so I know where to reference those things quickly, right? 

Because I want to keep up with those things, the best that I can, even birthdays, like, I wanna know whether employees birthdays, alright, I had my assistant, put employees birthdays on the calendar and also put their like work anniversary on the calendar, I want to reach out to them that day and say, “Hey, we are so grateful for you. Guess what, this is another year, you’ve been with Life Bridge Capital, thank you,” right? Or maybe even send them a little gift, or, you know, on their birthday and say, “Hey, happy birthday, I want you to take a few hours off today, if not the whole day,” right? If they hadn’t already planned something.

But ultimately, this mentor of mine, I just helped me to focus back on that, right. It’s not as complicated as most people make it out to be. But it did make me think about how I am caring about our people? And as we’ve grown, it only gets more difficult, right? You can’t have a one-on-one relationship with 50 employees, and know about their children and their spouses and, you know, build a relationship like that, right? 

As you grow. I mean, you know, it started with just me, and then it was just Sam and I. And then we had assistants. And then we just hired a number of people, right? And then we started a management company where there’s 50 employees there, and there’s no way we can get to know them all, right? But, you build leaders, right? You develop leaders, you hire, hopefully, you hire leaders, that helps in a big way, which we have done. 

And so they can get on board with this. And they also hopefully, you’re hiring people that fit your culture. Hopefully, if you’re caring about your employees, you’re hiring leaders in your business that also care about employees and care about the people under them, which we have done. And I feel really good about how we’re doing this now. 

And even our management company, it’s incredible to see how the Lord has worked through our leaders there and through the employees there and hardships that they’ve had, and how we’ve been able to step in and help them and say, “Hey, we care about you.” Right? In a big way. And so that has been incredible. But another thing that we have done is have an unlimited PTO policy. And I know, you’re probably thinking, what, what are you thinking? You know, unlimited? How do you do that? 

Well, it also goes back, believe it or not, to communications and meetings and asking questions, and having, you know, we talked a little bit about during our LTM meeting about ROCKs, and, you know, having those 90-day goals for your employees, and having alignment meetings, where you know, you’re following up with people and how are you know, are you getting your to-dos done? How are you doing on this ROCK, right?

Well, if they’re falling behind, right, in numerous areas, then maybe it’s time to follow up on that PTO policy, right? You know, and ask those questions. Well, you know, why are you falling behind on these things, you know, and hopefully you’re tracking days off as well, you know. It doesn’t mean they don’t tell you that they’re taking time off. 

But it does mean that, hey, I’m okay with them taking time off almost, almost anytime they need to, or want to, as long as they’re overachieving, as long as they’re achieving their goals, their ROCKS, you know, their to-dos. I was very on track with those things, that I don’t mind them taking time off here and there, I mean, fairly regular. Honestly, it’s a good thing, believe it or not, they need time off. You need time out, just some space, right for your mind. And I encourage family time and time with children. 

And you heard me do some shows recently with an author, a friend of mine named Jim Sheils, he wrote the book, “The Family Board Meeting.” And it’s simple, but he lays out a way for you to have those one-on-one meetings with your children. And so you’re building that relationship over time, which I’ve started doing that, and it’s been really good. I just highly encourage you to do that. I also offered during the shows to send you a free copy of his book. I feel that strongly about it. 

But I tell you what if you sign up, I’ll have put the link in the in the show notes of this show again, as well, or you can email [email protected]. And if you put in their free book with your address, obviously, we’re going to have your mailing address, if you put your address in there and say, hey, your free book, “The Family Board Meeting,” I’ll send you a copy for free. And so I feel that strongly about it.

But I encourage my employees to do that as well, right? I want them to have that time with their children. Let me tell you, when you care about them, you care about their families, they’re gonna care about you. And when they are on the clock, they’re gonna care about you, and they’re gonna care that they’re doing a good job. Okay? It just works that way, right? And so I just encourage you to think about that even for your employees. 

And if you’re tracking their own track with all these things, I encourage you to encourage them to take time off, right, with their spouse or with their children. It’s only going to come back to you many times over by caring about them in that way.

So back to my friend. So he got sidetracked. He approached his supervisor numerous times and he said, “You know, hey, I would love to lead this group, I would love to do these things.” And he’s pretty much just shut down, okay? Or he is not invited to leadership-type meetings, you know, even though they’ve, they’ve kind of given him the title, they’ve tried to check that box, right? He approached them and said, “Hey, I would love to do this.” I think he’s more than capable. I don’t know what the holdup here is, for his leadership or for his supervisor. But I think his leadership, they don’t wanna delegate, they don’t wanna give away that power of making some decisions or doing specific things or working with employees. 

And guess what? You have to. If you want to scale, if you want to grow, you have to delegate and you have to empower your people to do things, and trust them, that’s the thing here, you have to be able to trust them, that they’re going to do it the best that they can, and you know what? They’re gonna mess up. And you have to be okay with that. They’re gonna mess up. 

That’s also why we’re having these meetings to talk about when they mess up, so we can course-correct and say, “Okay, you know, great job making a decision. You may have made the wrong decision, but now we figured out the right way to go, well, let’s just keep going right?” 

And that is only going to build their confidence that much more, because you trusted them, you didn’t come down on them yelling at them, you don’t deserve to be where you’re at, if you treat them that way. But you didn’t come down on them that way. “Hey, you know what, we’re going to move forward. 

Now. I’m grateful that you lead in that way. And now we figured this out, guess what, we’ve got it fixed. Now we’re on the right track, okay?” And they’re going to be even that much more confident next time to make decisions and good decisions, but you have to empower them, you have to trust them to do it.

And here’s another tip. So oftentimes, employees will come to me and they ask, right, well, what about this? Should we do this? Right? I’ll say, “Okay, what do you think?” I want to get them thinking about what they would do, right? I may even know in my mind what I think we should do. But I want to ask more questions to help them figure that out. Right? And I may not have enough information yet, we talked about this in the alignment meeting show, which I kind of got off on some of the things there about decision-making and whatnot. So I encourage you to go back and listen to that. 

But ask questions, right? You know, ask them questions about that thing. What is the ultimate goal? How do you see getting there; reverse engineer getting there? Well, what’s going to help us to make that happen? Right? And that’s gonna help you to make a better decision and to lead them well. But what I want is for them to come up with a decision. And they may have a different decision than you and at that point, you can discuss it right? We can say, “Well, wait a minute, you know, tell me how you got there. Tell me why you think this.” That’s going to help you to dig in, right? 

Ask them questions of how they got there, and why and how, again, just like I talked about in that alignment show, you’re going to learn things from somebody, I hope that knows more about their position than you do. Right? Oftentimes, oftentimes. 

So there may be specific parts of the business that you are a specialist in, you’re an expert in just because you’ve been doing it for a while. But then as you hire people, and as you grow, you know, they’re going to become experts in specific parts of your business more than you ever thought about being and I hope that’s the case. I’m trying to hire people like that all the time. And so hopefully, you’re asking questions in there teaching you things that you didn’t know, I hope that’s the case. 

And that may not always be the case again, but that may steer and change what you thought was the best answer, right? And that’s by asking those questions, but I want to empower them. And just like my friend, I would like for his supervisor to ask him questions, say, Okay, well, let’s try that. I want you to go lead that.

And actually, there was a thing recently, as a team, and I’ll share with you like, it’s a voluntary meeting. I’ve been talking about meetings all lately. But we started a journal meeting, as a team, we’ve been trying to do journal, and to help us with those rocks in those two days. And we’re tracking every day and checking things off and you know, personally, and professionally and all these things. 

So I started this voluntary journal meeting. So it’s not anything complicated, but it’s more so who’s motivated, who wants to be held somewhat accountable, right for this thing. And I honestly don’t need something else to keep up with, I want to encourage the team to do it. I am trying to do it as faithfully as I can. And as often as I can. I’m trying to do this every day. And I encourage them to do it. I know the benefits of journaling, and I can only imagine the benefits of that if the whole team is doing or most of the team. But again, I made it voluntary. And it’s like, let’s say it’s 15 or 20 minutes, you might share one or two things about what you’ve learned over the last few weeks month, however often you want to do it, but it’s more so so people know there’s some accountability. It is voluntary, right? 

Again, you’re gonna see some high achievers pop out, you know, by doing this, right by doing some voluntary things like this. However, I was doing this and there’s somebody else that’s probably more motivated about journaling Know the team than I am, and is very good at this and good at with people and working through journaling and helping others. And so I just said, “Hey, you know, what, how about you lead this?” And they were excited about it, they said, I would love to. That’s great, right? I think they’re better at this than I am journaling and, and they’re gonna help encourage other people. And they can spend some time on that. 

And guess what? That’s something that I do not have to keep up with now. But I do believe it’s something that’s very important. And it helps me, it helps even the team to get to know each other better. It helps build communication, and community and all those things that’s so vital to your team. And that’s just another way that you show that you care, and that you’re building culture and all of these things. And even that, you know, building culture, right? Our employees love our culture, they love being here. And I do believe it’s because we try to show we care. And we try to show on a personal level, you know that we do care about them and their families. And so I think you will reap many rewards by caring about your team in a big way, just like you would want to be cared for. Right, no doubt about it, some unlimited PTO, and again, I think we start that after maybe six months or something like that. So it doesn’t happen right away. 

But it’s pretty quick. And you know, just like my friend, which I’ve referenced a number of times, he’s fixing a lathe, he’s gonna go somewhere else. Okay, he is interviewing at other places right now. And so that’s what you have to remember: when you have people that are motivated, that are wanting to lead that have innovative ideas, or bringing you ideas, they’re hard-charging, you better harness that, and you better figure out a way to help them to stay motivated, and to take some of their ideas and let them run with some things and empower them.

Because if you don’t, they’re gonna go do it for somebody else. I don’t blame them. I do not blame them. You know, even people in our team, we have some very motivated amazing people. And I know that if I don’t harness some of that motivation, and empower them, that they’re gonna go do it for somebody else. And I wouldn’t blame them. Okay, but through our alignment meetings, through our one-on-one meetings, just time with them, I hope that I know that I hope that I’m learning about that from them. All right. 

So after today, you know, you are building a better culture, I hope that your team knows that you care about them. Remember, they are your most important asset. And, you know, as you grow, they’re your biggest asset. I mean, they are so vitally important. We, if we had somebody leave right now, man, it’s gonna be such a shock to our team, right? We’re gonna absorb it, we’re gonna keep going, we’re gonna figure it out, no doubt about it, we’re gonna hire somebody else. But I don’t want to see him go, I care about them. Right?

And so I hope that again, you’re becoming a better leader by listening to the show, and even just learning from what I’m learning. And I hope that if you have questions, or if you have something else you’d like for me to talk about, or how I’m doing, and how our team is doing, what Sam and I are up to, anything, I hope that you will reach out at info at Life Bridge Capital and ask a question, we would love to hear from you. Again, if you email info@LifeBridgeCapital and ask about the book, “The Family Board Meeting,” we will send you that for free. I want to personally send that to you. So email us your address, and we’ll get that in the mail to you. We’d love to get that to as many people as I can. I think you can apply that to your spouse and other family members as well. And then you can encourage your team to do it also with their family. So, have a blessed day. I look forward to speaking to you tomorrow.

Thank you for being with us again today. I hope that you have learned a lot from the show. Don’t forget to like and subscribe. I hope you’re telling your friends about the real estate syndication show and how they can also build wealth in real estate. You can also go to and start investing today.

Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Here’s How »

Join the Real Estate Syndication Show Community:

Related Posts