In honor of Presidents’ Day, we sat down to talk leadership with SMS Assist President of Residential Services Adam Love. He leads more than 370 members of SMS Assist’s residential department and brings more than a decade of experience as a business owner and leader at companies like Invitation Homes and Opendoor.
What does leadership mean to you?
“I recently read a Martin Luther King Jr. quote during the holiday that I think is pretty fitting: ‘A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.’ I take that to mean that you must have a plan, of course, but you can’t force it on your team. You don’t demand consensus, you create it. You must build confidence in the team’s direction and ensure your team has the resources they need to be successful. You should serve as an advocate for them. Speak up when necessary, but don’t micromanage.”
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
“Humility. This really has two parts for me. Number one: Don’t presume you know everything; you should always be open to learning and seeking advice or help. And number two: Don’t feel as though you are better than those you’re leading. Your team members’ success shouldn’t threaten you. If your team is successful, you’ll be successful.”
What are resources you would recommend to someone looking to become a better leader?
“When it comes to leadership, you have to be adaptable. You need to be a good decision-maker. Leadership is a series of nonstop micro-reactions throughout the day, and I think it’s difficult for someone to convey that in a book or podcast. My personal approach is to acutely observe those who are good leaders or bad leaders and try to apply or not apply their qualities to my own decision-making.”
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
“No matter how good of a leader you are, you will fail if you don’t have the right people around you. You should build a complementary team—a team of diverse thoughts, experiences, and skill sets. This promotes a thorough vetting of ideas. Don’t try to micromanage. I think a lot of people transitioning from an individual contributor role, where they’re solely responsible for their own success, can have a difficult time giving their team space to do their own work. But you need to be able to trust your team. If you have good people, leading them is all that is necessary.”
Who has been the most influential leader in your life?
“One person who comes to mind is my old construction boss. I worked with him while I was in high school and through my college years. He, in his own way, exuded all of the qualities of a great leader that I’ve mentioned above. One phrase that he left me with that stands out is ‘there are no problems, only solutions.’”