Meet the MD: Chris Thomson of Eadon Lockwood and Riddle

Meet the MD: Chris Thomson of Eadon Lockwood and Riddle

Chris Thomson started working as a trainee for an independent agency in Rotherham and is now managing director of one of Yorkshire's longest established estate agents. He told BQ about his career so far.

What does your role include?

I oversee the day to day running of Eadon, Lockwood and Riddle Estate Agents, who are Sheffield’s longest established estate agency, having been trading since 1840.

As well as managing the business, I am also responsible for earning sales fees, and developing the ‘ELR’ brand.

 

What is it the company does?

We are an estate agency practice specialising in sales, lettings, surveys and auctions.

 

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I started as a trainee for an independent agency in Rotherham, in 1986. I then moved onto working for corporate estate agencies over a period of around 12 years.

I had a brief diversion into New Homes, but soon returned into private practice, where I have been for the past 20 years.

 

What do you believe makes a great leader?

This is best summed up by my personal motto: ‘do not ask someone to do something, if you can’t, or are aren’t prepared, to do it yourself’ IE: lead from the front, and be prepared to get your hands dirty!

 

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

The acquisition of ELR Estate Agents back in 2011.

The business was something of a ‘sleeping giant’ with a strong brand, a good, experienced team of staff, but still working in the past, and somewhat reluctant to embrace new ideas.

Many changes have taken place over the past 4-5 years, and we are just about getting to where we want to be.

 

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

That’s not always possible, but I enjoy playing golf, and spending time with my daughter and partner of 6 years. I’m a keen traveller and try to get away a few times a year.

 

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Strangely enough, an estate agent.

 

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

I have plenty of little niggles, ask the staff and they will reel them off!

Attention to detail is key to our business, and I can’t accept cutting corners as business will be missed.

If I spot anything, a timely e mail or telephone call is on the way.

 

Where do you see the company in five years time?

When we acquired ELR, it was our plan to open one branch per year. We have done three so far, but it did take a couple of years to straighten out the existing branches, so we are happy with our position.

We have a couple of more locations earmarked, so expansion is still high on the agenda.

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Experience each element of the job first, before trying to manage staff who potentially know more than you do!

I have found this to be a big problem with many senior managers and business leaders.