What happens when it gets too hot? Make sure you don't get burned

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Properties

As a leader in your field, are you a thermometer or a thermostat? Yes, this may sound like an odd question at first glance. But it’s actually pretty important. Are you leading like a thermometer or a thermostat? 

Think, for a second, about the difference. A thermometer is passive. If you put a thermometer in a room, it will slowly rise or fall to the appropriate temperature. It will give a reading then do very little else. It is aware of the temperature. Although this awareness serves a purpose, it’s pretty useless as a leader. A thermostat, on the other hand, is in control. It doesn’t perform a passive function. A thermostat sends a message to the heating or cooling system telling it how to act. Dutifully, the thermostat’s commands cause the heat to turn on or the air conditioner to start working. A thermostat is aware of the temperature and does something about it.  

Lots of leaders think that they are successful by keeping a finger on the pulse of their subordinates. They gauge the temperature of their staff and note it. They watch from their position of power and do very little to actually change the climate. They will see a professional climate at risk for boiling over, but they aren’t capable of doing anything to prevent disaster. They may even yell out warning signs, “Danger! The temperature is too high!” but they aren’t able to fix any problems or change anything about the situation. They are passive, after all. 

A thermostat style leader is more dynamic. They’re in control. As the proverbial pot is at risk of boiling over, they delegate the job of lowering the temperature knowing it will be done with immediacy. The thermostat leader ensures that change happens in a timely manner. They demonstrate awareness and action at the same time. A thermostat leader is dynamic. This style leader is one who is constantly aware of the situation but doesn’t sit idly in their awareness. A thermostat heeds the warnings and follows through with action. The thermostat leads its staff to do its job. 

This week, when you perform your duties as a leader, ask yourself if you’re leading as a thermometer or a thermostat. Are you simply watching the temperature rise above or below a safe temperature without doing anything to change the situation? Or are you noticing and then affecting change in your position of power? By taking a hard look at your leadership style and asking yourself which sort of leader you are, you’ll start to see real change in your staff and much greater success over time. 

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Get Educated.  Get Empowered.

For more information on this or any other topic, call Sal Poliandro, Broker Associate, Realtor, Marketing Advisor,

Short Sale Specialist and CDPE, Certified Distressed Property Expert

ePRO, SRES at 201-957-7650, visit our website: www.BCHomeTeam.com 

Follow me on Twitter: @bchometeam

Sal can be reached by snail mail at RE/MAX Properties 82 East Allendale Road  Suite 4B Saddle River, NJ 07458


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  1. Ginger Harper 03/07/2018 08:24 AM
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Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I guess you have to know when to hold them or fold them know when to walk away…

Mar 06, 2018 10:49 PM #1
Sham Reddy
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Great analogy!!!

Thermostat style leader is one who is constantly aware of the situation but doesn’t sit idly in their awareness. A thermostat heeds the warnings and follows through with action. The thermostat leads its staff to do its job. 

Mar 07, 2018 03:43 AM #2
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Sal Poliandro - NJ Bergen County Realtor ,

Congratulations on a well deserved featured post! You used a great analogy to get your point across!

Mar 07, 2018 04:09 AM #3
Brenda J. Andrew
Professional Realtor in Corpus Christi, TX

What a great way of looking at this, now every time I think of a thermostat or thermometer, I'll be thinking of this.  This is great!

Mar 07, 2018 04:34 AM #4
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Taking a "read" is the wayy to go

Mar 07, 2018 06:33 AM #5
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

Like the analogy and well told and written.Congrats on the feature.

Mar 07, 2018 06:46 AM #6
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

LOVE the analogy.  I never thought of it that way, but it works.  Thank you for the post.

Mar 07, 2018 07:45 AM #7
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

This is an appropriate analogy. I definitely don't just sit there taking a read of the temperature!

Mar 07, 2018 07:52 AM #8
Eve Miller
Buyers Best Choice - Denver, CO
"Opening Denver, One Door at a Time."

What a Great way to explain the differences between a follower and a leader. Be a thermostat to lead and get your self across.


Mar 07, 2018 08:56 AM #9
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

I have noticed in my office that when the market goes down, everyone shares their tales of woe and that just reinforces the idea that there is nothing much to be done.  This is like the thermometer analogy.  I work out of my home and miss much of that talk, thank heavens.  

Mar 07, 2018 09:29 AM #10
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I love analogies like this because it makes perfect sense and it's easy to remember!

Mar 07, 2018 10:37 AM #11
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I agree with others that this is a really great analogy.  I feel like I do this well, but I also believe there is ALWAYS room to improve on one's habits and methods.  

Mar 07, 2018 06:53 PM #12
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Thanks for sharing, Sal Poliandro - NJ Bergen County Realtor.This is a great analogy & a well written post! I'll think of this often.


Mar 07, 2018 08:46 PM #13
Sal Poliandro - NJ Bergen County Realtor
RE/MAX Properties - Ridgewood, NJ
Short Sale Specialist - CDPE, SRES, SFR, IRES

Enjoying a tremendous amount of snow and loss of power in Northern NJ. Honored to be featured. Thanks to each of you for your comments. 






Mar 08, 2018 01:14 AM #14
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Open the closed window to get some fresh air. Leaders lose their perspective when they are tucked away and hidden in corner offices where windows are fixed and don't open many stories removed from the real estate trenches. Keep current, listen with both ears, adjust the dials to keep it just right collecting the feedback. Make it cozy in the work place... just like the temp Goldie taste tested for the just so best in the porridge in her break and enter when hunger hit. Moderation wins the day and avoids hypothermia or 3rd degree burn extreme in your lock and load seize the day.

Mar 08, 2018 03:19 AM #15
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

What a great analogy!!

I had not thought of leadership in the terms you shared.

The thermostat takes a reading like the thermometer but then goes into action to make the necessary adjustments.

I Love it!!!

Mar 08, 2018 01:09 PM #16
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Sal,

Very interesting concept.

Mar 09, 2018 09:25 PM #17
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Short Sale Specialist - CDPE, SRES, SFR, IRES
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