Amy Reeves, Market Director in The Intersect Group’s Dallas office, has worked in the industry for almost 16 years. She shares key insights on being an effective manager and explains how her family’s retail businesses and her stint as a competitive swimmer influence her professional life today.
You have many years of industry experience, but you’re new in this director position. What has surprised you about the job?
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the leadership role. Before this, my entire career was as an individual producer. I was on the front lines, and this role has pulled me back from there. Even though I’m involved in all the deals, I’m not the one who actually goes in and closes them. I really miss that.
Expand on that. What have you enjoyed about being a leader?
The teaching aspect, I think. I love that I am able to take the lessons I learned as a top producer in the sales environment and share that knowledge with someone newer who is still growing in the industry. What I have to remember is that I don’t know everything. I’m still learning as well.
Who taught you the most about how to be an effective manager?
Honestly, it is Wade Hughes, our managing partner. He has experienced a ton of change in his corporate career and has seen successful times and not-so-successful times. The biggest thing he did was motivate me to motivate my team.
So, how are you motivating your team?
I’m a big believer in carrots. When I came in, Wade helped me with a plan to motivate the team and build morale. We promised a bonus for hard work and meeting goals, and we are about to see that happen.
I also believe in the power of listening. I met with each person individually and asked what he or she needed. It could have been something as small as making sure business cards were up to date, but we took care of it, because those little details all build to bigger success.
What makes a great manager? What makes a poor manager?
Great managers allow their employees to take ownership and create their own way. However, they also know when to step in and push. Someone who does well can fall into the trap of complacency. Great managers know how to snap them out of it and focus their energy. The worst managers I ever reported to were condescending, uninvolved and never paid attention to the group’s morale. They taught me how not to act.
Who has had the most influence on your professional career? Why?
My grandmother started a women’s clothing store in the 1950s, and my father started a gift store in the 1970s. Watching them taught me the value of a strong work ethic and how to properly treat and serve customers. You have to always be available and always be smiling.
Did you learn anything from school-age activities that you’ve carried into your professional life?
I was a competitive swimmer for 15 years. Swimming two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening teaches focus and commitment. I had to make sure my body was more like a machine than not. I saw the payoff from hard work.
Do you still feel that competitive spirit?
Absolutely. You can’t be successful in our business and not be competitive. But there’s a positive way of being competitive and also a negative way. You have to make sure you compete positively.