Leadership is Like Mortar

When you look at a brick wall, what do you see? You probably see the bricks first and the mortar second. In fact, you might not even notice the mortar at first glance. You might only notice the mortar if there is something wrong with it, or if you know what to look for.

The same can be said for leadership.

Leadership is like the mortar in a brick wall. You should never notice that it is there. Yet the mortar is the most crucial part of the wall. Without mortar, the bricks would simply be stacked on top of one another with no support. A gentle push of the wall or the removal of a handful of bricks would make the wall come tumbling down.

The same can be said for leadership.

Without leadership invisibly holding the pieces of a family, a classroom, a team, or an organization together the slightest push can cause the entire family or team structure to implode.

Without mortar, a brick wall fails. Without leadership, your organization will fail.

Let's imagine you see another brick wall, but this time the first thing you notice is the mortar. That usually means there is something wrong with the mortar or there was something wrong with the way the mortar was installed. The masons may have put too much mortar on one brick, or not enough mortar on another. This might cause the mortar to overflow on to the front face of the brick wall. Or, over periods of time, the elements may have simply eroded away the mortar. Either way, the mortar is no longer invisible.

When it comes to leadership, the best leaders are invisible.

A good leader knows that for his or her team to succeed, he or she must do everything within their power to place the team above themselves. They must set aside their own ego and let the employees or the students shine. When you look at an organization and the first thing you see is the leadership, you might as well be looking at a brick wall with the mortar overflowing the bricks. While the brick wall may be standing, it certainly doesn't look right.

Finally, when you look at a brick wall, what else do you see? You see the bricks, each one approximately the same size, shape, color, and durability. You also see the mortar. But unlike the bricks, the mortar is pliable and easily molded to fit whatever shape it needs to fit.

The same can be said for leadership.

The individuals on your team, in your classroom, and within your organization are the bricks in the brick wall. While one brick by itself may not be remarkable, as a whole, all of the bricks can make remarkable things. However, the bricks can only make remarkable things when the mortar has the flexibility and pliability to fit into the areas where the bricks cannot. Together, the bricks and the mortar can make remarkable things.

The leader within you must be forced to take various shapes - invisibly - in order to make your group stand out and be the best it can possibly be.

So the next time you look at a brick wall, what will you see?


Nico Hohman

Nico Hohman is the broker/owner of Hohman Homes, a residential real estate brokerage based in Tampa, Fla. Nico is also a contributing author to Realtor Magazine and Inman News, the innovative news source for the real estate industry. Nico has contributed his time and talents to better the standards of the real estate industry and the local community by leading and serving on committees at Greater Tampa Realtors, Emerge Tampa Bay, the University of Florida School of Construction Management Alumni Council, Toastmasters International, Nativity Catholic School, and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital Guild. Plus, every fall, Coach Hohman is the Head Golf Coach at Jesuit High School of Tampa.


Since he began practicing full time in the residential real estate in the fall of 2014, Nico has been involved in the transaction and management of over 100 properties with a total value of nearly $20,000,000.


With a degree in Construction Management from the University of Florida and past experience in the home building and remodeling industries, Nico focuses on helping homebuyers find and purchase new construction homes. He also helps home sellers looking to sell their properties that also require significant renovation.