The other day, I took a long walk with one of my colleagues—someone who has quickly become one of the people I admire most as a leader. He is unassuming, an excellent listener, and not surprisingly, adored by every member of his staff. During our stroll through the streets of Washington, D.C., I asked him how he does it. His response: “You just have to listen, make every effort to be fair, and take your own ego out of the equation.” Easier said than done, I thought.

As I reflected on his words later that day, I started thinking about all the leaders whose styles I aspire to emulate. Not a single one is alike. Yet each has taught me powerful lessons about what works—and what doesn't—when it comes to leading an organization or group of people. Over the years, I've taken the most insightful nuggets of wisdom from each and created my own “dream team” of leadership ideals.

At no time are those lessons more useful than during a crisis. Right now, the media frenzy around the subprime fallout and subsequent credit crunch amounts to just such a disaster for for-sale housing. Consumers—myself included—who balk at the thought of buying a new home or condo in this market have flocked to apartment communities. While this is good news for multifamily operators, it also presents a distinct challenge: When the wave of new rental residents crashes against the doors of your leasing office, how will you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE is here to help. As part of this month's special report on 2008 strategies, we conducted an exclusive survey of multifamily investors, owners, builders, and managers, with fascinating results. Consider, for instance, that nearly half (46 percent) of survey respondents believe green building will be an important trend to watch in 2008. Yet the majority say the actual impact of green building on the industry will be relatively insignificant.

What's more, we talked to some of the industry's leading firms about how they plan to navigate the ups and downs of the market next year. Sometimes they agreed; often they didn't. But the debate itself is fascinating to witness. My suggestion? Grab a cup of coffee and spend some time reading our report. Consider the principles that the industry's best will employ in 2008. And then pick and choose the ones that make the most sense for you. I know that's what I plan to do.

Shabnam Mogharabi, Editor
smogharabi@hanleywood.com