6 Tips for Being a Good Leader in the Insurance Industry
The insurance industry has unique challenges and opportunities. Navigating these well is the key to success in the insurance world. Your team needs great leadership to help them manage these challenges and opportunities.
In this article, our management team shares their best advice for being a good leader in the insurance industry. These leaders have years of experience in insurance and know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. If you want to know how to be a good leader, keep reading.
1: Nurture Your Team
“A good leader is going to see the humanity in a team member and put themselves in uncomfortable places to nurture the potential in their teams.” – Chris Cook, InsCipher Product Marketing Manager
One important aspect of being a good leader is to nurture your team. As their leader, your team looks to you for guidance, strength, motivation, and support. You essentially take on the parent role for your team, and it is your responsibility to make sure that your team is healthy and happy.
You can nurture your team by helping them meet their needs. Schedule regular one-on-ones with your team members to check in on their work needs, well-being needs, and growth needs.
Work Needs: Ask them if there is anything they need from you in order for them to complete all their work responsibilities. Maybe they need you to share a document with them, clarify a task, or introduce them to another coworker who has access to the resources they need. Helping your team fulfill their work needs will keep your projects running smoothly.
Well-Being Needs: Next, ask how their overall well-being is and see what you can do to help them. You could advise them to take a day off. Help them shuffle their work responsibilities around, so they are not so overwhelmed. You could even offer additional training so they can feel more confident completing their tasks. Nurturing your team’s well-being will lead to better morale, fewer sick days, and prevent burnout.
Growth Needs: Lastly, ask about their career goals and how you can help them reach those goals. You can share your own career path with them. Give advice about common industry obstacles. They can shadow you or another coworker to be exposed to more skill sets. As your team moves toward their career goals, they will experience a sense of purpose and belonging. This will contribute to their overall well-being and improve their work ethic.
2: Bring Out Greatness In Others
“Good leaders bring out greatness in others. They listen to and care about their team, encouraging and inspiring them, while setting clear expectations so that they are set up for success.” – Lara York, InsCipher Filing Services and Compliance Manager
A good leader recognizes what makes each team member great. By realizing each member’s strengths, leaders can better organize their team and projects based on each person’s ability. Not only will you set your team up for success, but you’ll cultivate your team member’s strengths and then continue to build on them.
Recognizing your team’s strengths requires you to be a good observer. Notice what skills come easy to them. Recognize how quickly they complete projects and the quality of their work. Discover what tasks empower them instead of burning them out. These are key indicators of what their strengths are.
Knowing your team’s strengths allows you to delegate responsibilities appropriately. It also gives your team a better chance to succeed.
3: Communicate Clearly and Listen Attentively
“A good leader will communicate clearly and listen attentively.” – Cortney Earl, InsCipher Accounting Manager
Communication can be one of the biggest obstacles or assets for a team. As a leader, you need superb communication skills to help your team thrive.
Leaders who communicate clearly are aware of their body language and tone. They eliminate distractions like smartphones or overzealous powerpoints. Good communicators avoid making assumptions and are very specific. They use phrases such as “I feel this way when you…” or “This project needs to be completed on this date…”.
A big component of good communication is listening. Leaders who listen are attentive, ask open-ended questions, request clarification, and can repeat back what was said.
Good communication and listening skills are important for leaders to cultivate. Communicating well eliminates potential misunderstandings. It keeps projects running efficiently. More importantly, it allows team members to feel understood.
4: Empower Your Team to Innovate
“Human beings will be remarkably innovative when they feel empowered to innovate.” -Elizabeth Radka, InsCipher Implementation Manager
Innovation is essential to the survival of your insurance business. If your company doesn’t innovate well, your business will plateau. What’s more, competitors who are innovating will pass you by.
Innovation starts at the team level. The more you empower your team to innovate, the more innovative you will become as a company. Fortunately, innovation can be cultivated. To help inspire and empower your team, start by fostering the following:
-Help your team to look at failure as an opportunity to learn, not the potential for being let go. If team members can’t fail with your support, they’ll never try to innovate.
let go. If team members can’t fail with your support, they’ll never try to innovate.
-Encourage your team to continue learning by: reading books, listening to podcasts, attending seminars, taking courses, and more. Growth and knowledge give your team members the tools and insights they need to be creative and innovate.
-Provide them with complex and interesting challenges but not overwhelming. Necessity is the mother of invention, so there will be no need to innovate without challenges.
-Accept risk and uncertainty as an important part of innovation. If team members are afraid to take risks or struggle to navigate uncertainty, innovation will be stifled.
5: See the Big Picture
“A good leader is someone who can see the big picture, even outside of their individual roles.” – Jason Russon, InsCipher Sales Director
Keeping the company’s overall mission in mind is an essential skill of a good leader. Without this vision, teams can quickly lose their direction and get off course. Seeing the big picture and implementing it into projects helps your team stay in alignment with company goals.
You can help your team see the big picture by hanging up company goals in the office. Encourage team members to post a sticky note of the company goals on their computers. Review goals at the beginning and end of each meeting. Explain how each project contributes to the bigger picture.
6: Build Trust
“A true leader breeds trust from others.”- Covey Ogden, InsCipher Senior Product Manager
Perhaps the most critical trait of a good leader is their ability to build trust with each team member. If your team doesn’t trust you to guide and support them, you don’t really have a team, and you’re not really a leader.
You can build trust with your team by being empathetic, courageous, respectful, passionate, and taking responsibility for your mistakes. As you work to develop these traits, your team will begin to trust you. In turn, your team will strive to develop these traits as well.
Cultivating trust will build a more cohesive team that can rely on each other for help and to get the job done.
As a leader, it’s your job to guide your team through the ups and downs of the insurance world. You can establish a healthy team by nurturing them, recognizing their strengths, using effective communication, cultivating innovation, prioritizing the bigger picture, and building trust.
InsCipher is an insurtech company providing software and services that are revolutionizing inefficient insurance processes. Save your agency time and money by automating surplus lines compliance, filing, and reporting. Want to learn more? Request a free demo today!
Surplus Lines Tax Filing, Simplified by InsCipher.