Recently, we sat down to chat with David Wylie, co-founder and managing partner of Hilltop Residential. David has been in the multifamily industry since 2000, having received national recognition for his performance across Texas and the United States. He spent the first 20 years of his career as a broker, and in 2016, David started Hilltop Residential. Hilltop owns and operates 8,000 units across Texas in the southeastern part of the United States (most of which have Apartment Life programs!). David is a great friend and advocate for Apartment Life. He has served on both our regional and national advisory councils.
David, what would you consider your work leadership super-power?
That's a hard question because none of us probably think highly enough of ourselves to think we're really good at something. But I'd say, I have enough self-awareness or humility to understand what I'm not good at. And then, on the flip side, the list of what I'm good at is short, and I try to focus on those things.
That's a great awareness to have. It's important for leaders, especially young leaders, to come to a place where they recognize what they excel at, where they really fly.
I'm sitting here staring at a bobblehead on my desk of Pete Rose, and one of his nicknames was Charlie Hustle. He was always diving head-first into the next base. The guy's uniform was always dirty. I mean, that's how I am. When I started in the business, I was young and hungry, and that's all I had to offer was being hungry. I was a hustler, and that led me to block and tackle well and to be motivated to do the basic things well.
"As I've grown and gotten older, I've always been looking for wise counsel and people to surround myself with that I can ask questions to and learn from and not be afraid to ask the dumb question."
How has your own experience hustling and learning from others shaped your leadership style now?
As a leader, I try to empower the people around me to do what they're good at doing. Every company or team is like a body. You need to have a hand and a face and a foot and a knee and allow them to all do what they're good at doing. You do what you're good at and then get out of your own way and let everybody else do what they're good at, and you wind up growing as a body and being successful.
What advice would you give to a young leader trying to figure things out?
I would say being coachable if you're a leader.
"You have to be a coach if you're a leader, but you also have to be coachable."
Ask yourself, who is my coach? You need to find mentors and listen to people who've been in the game already who can help you think through certain situations. There's always something that we can learn from others and their experience, and then be ready to share with those who are still learning and coming behind us.
This interview was pulled from Episode 118 of the Apartment Life Leadership Podcast and was edited for length and clarity. For more interviews with leaders in the multifamily industry, you can follow along at apartmentlife.org/podcast. Follow @aptlife for updates on new episodes and upcoming content! If you enjoy listening, leave us a review on Apple or Spotify. We can't wait to hear from you and hope this podcast serves as a helpful resource.