Most insurance industry leaders didn’t get where they are by accident – here are five traits that got them there.
Whether you’re a high-ranking carrier executive, the president of your own agency, or an agent helping clients solve their insurance needs, the insurance industry runs on strong leadership. It takes more than a title to be a leader, however.
Indeed, true leaders define themselves not by what they have, but what they do. They pride themselves on their ability to inspire everyone around them, through their character, intelligence, and other characteristics. With a little hard work, you can learn and perfect these traits, too.
Leaders are role models for everyone in the workplace. If you act ethically with clients, your peers will follow your lead; they’ll help you build a culture of personal integrity that fosters lasting trust between your agency and your clients. Gunnar Lovelace, co-CEO and cofounder of Thrive Market, said it best to Entrepreneur:
“Our employees are a direct reflection of the values we embody as leaders. If we’re playing from a reactive and obsolete playbook of needing to be right instead of doing what’s right, then we limit the full potential of our business and lose quality talent. If you focus on becoming authentic in all your interactions, that will rub off on your business and your culture, and the rest takes care of itself.”
As an insurance professional, you know the insurance industry well, but you always want to learn more. The industry is always changing, and you realize you need to keep up with the latest developments. So you constantly read about new innovations, attend industry conferences to discuss the latest trends, take part in industry discussion groups to uncover new ways of thinking beyond your own agency or company, monitor social media to learn the challenges your prospects and clients face and share your solutions with them. Your willingness to embrace new ideas and innovations demonstrates leadership to clients and colleagues.
Having wide knowledge and fresh ideas won’t translate into action unless you can communicate them. Be a good speaker and listener. Always include your clients and colleagues in the decision-making process whenever you start a project, and be sure to solicit their feedback throughout it. By acknowledging and incorporating your clients’ and co-workers’ thoughts, you inspire them to make the right decision – for themselves. They become active participants with ownership of the new endeavor or product purchase.
Great leaders tune into their clients’ insurance challenges, from protecting their homes and businesses and to insuring their family’s financial future. Put yourself in their shoes. Use your knowledge to think about what products would help them most. Never recommend something without understanding your client’s needs. As best-selling author Lewis Howes told Entrepreneur, great leaders “focus on genuine connections with people, and look for ways to help them.”
Every business encounters roadblocks. Great leaders confront those hurdles directly and persevere because they have passion. They work hard to overcome any obstacles to continue to build their business. Barreling through the tough times will inspire your colleagues to do the same. And the commitment you show to your clients proves you can solve problems for them even when the challenges are difficult. Great leaders build upon their experience, abilities, knowledge, and past successes to help their employees and clients prosper during the lean days.
Great leaders are made, not born. They make themselves better everyday and develop the personal characteristics that make them models for action. If you follow their lead, you’ll get there, too.