Leadership can make the difference between crashing and burning or thriving, whether your company is an established insurance company, a Main Street insurance agency, or an insurtech startup. Here are five leadership tips that you can use to help your insurance organization thrive in 2017:
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Hire great people and put them in the right jobs. A strong leader looks like a superhero when he or she has a great staff. But it’s not just about hiring the people you like the most or who have the most impressive resumes. It’s about hiring those who are best-suited to excel in the position you have for them.
Create clearly defined objectives. Both your standards of conduct and your progress expectations should be made clear to employees in every position—from the mailroom up to the boardroom. Moving the goalposts and giving murky, unspecific expectations sabotage your team and do nothing for motivation.
Let your employees do their jobs—don’t micromanage them. Many people believe that great leaders are involved in everything. But the best leaders establish clear standards and expectations and allow their employees the freedom to meet these objectives on their own. Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he said, “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
Remember that honesty breeds both respect and loyalty. Throughout his career, Andreessen Horowitz Cofounder Ben Horowitz had many opportunities to disguise the truth about troubles his companies were facing and to tell employees there were no big problems. Because he instead chose to be honest with employees, he ended up with a team that respected him and was dedicated to the success of the company—even when it looked like the business wasn’t going to make it. While you don’t have to share every detail as it comes to light, you should always strive to be honest with employees so they understand the upcoming risks and rewards.
Integrity is the glue that holds all leadership qualities together. Building a stellar team, setting clear objectives, trusting the talent and unapologetic honesty require integrity of word and deed. Sure, there are examples of leaders who have “succeeded” without it, but history has tended to favor those with this valuable trait. They’re the protagonists we’ve come to know and love; the heroes of their stories, their nations and their teams. So when the hard things about building a business arise (and they will) fall back on these tips and take the high road.
Always striving to do your best in even the toughest situations will be worth the peace of mind.
Mike de Waal is president and founder of Global IQX (www.globaliqx.com). Read his full bio here.