Insurance Leader: How to Cultivate Leadership at Your Agency

Insurance Leader: How to Cultivate Leadership at Your Agency

Insurance Leader: How to Cultivate Leadership at Your Agency
By 
Tara Seboldt
Aug 16, 2022
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Being a leader is a lot more than having a high-ranking title or corner office. In fact, leaders can take form at every level of a business—and all of them are important to the success of a team.

An insurance leader is someone whose work provides a positive influence on the entire team. Most agencies can benefit from having multiple strong leaders throughout the team. 

Let’s explore more about effective insurance leaders and how to cultivate leaders in the insurance industry.

What is an Insurance Leader?

An insurance leader is an exemplary team member at an insurance agency. The role of an insurance leader is to influence and guide their team to complete agency goals.

Generally, these leaders have common qualities unique to promoting growth. The top qualities to look for in insurance leaders include:

  • Communication Skills: Good leaders can communicate effectively with the team. They know how to explain complex challenges and encourage action.
  • Integrity: In a highly-regulated industry, it’s incredibly important that your leaders have a solid moral compass. Leaders who lead with integrity are honest and strive to do what’s right. 
  • Empathy: Empathetic leaders have high emotional intelligence. They can put themselves into their team member’s shoes to understand diverse perspectives. This trait leads to more inclusive teams.
  • Self-Awareness: The best leaders know they’re not the best at everything. They can admit when they make mistakes or when they're not the best person for a task.
  • Charisma: Leaders have to be likable. A charismatic insurance leader is approachable and friendly. They can build quality relationships with both their clients and the team.
  • Trust in the Team: Delegation of tasks is one of the most important roles of an insurance leader. A good leader knows when to hand over ownership of tasks.
  • Industry Knowledge: Commercial insurance is a complicated industry. In an agency, your leaders need to understand the details of all your insurance products and services.

What are the Benefits of Insurance Leaders?

Having insurance leaders in your agency benefits both your business and your team.

Multiple leaders on your team can help your business grow in several ways, such as:

  • Strong leaders do the work to help the agency reach its goals.
  • Good leaders help make the agency a more positive environment.
  • Working with insurance leaders encourages other team members to go above and beyond in their work.

A great insurance leader also has benefits for your team, including:

  • Teams with good leaders are encouraged to reach their full potential.
  • Positive leaders foster inclusivity and create a more enjoyable workplace.
  • Having a known leader makes it easy for team members to ask tough questions and get answers from a known point of contact.

Types of Insurance Leadership Styles

There are three main types of leadership styles: participative leadership, authoritative leadership, and delegative leadership. Each style comes with pros and cons that make implementing a single style a challenge in insurance companies.

1. Participative Leadership

Participative or democratic leaders use team input and feedback to make decisions. The leader has the final say in the matter, but they ask the team for their opinions before making a choice.

Pros

  • Team members feel like they have a say in agency-related decisions.
  • Getting input from the team makes it easier to delegate tasks because they’re already on board.
  • Team members grow and potentially become leaders themselves.

Cons

  • Asking for too much input can slow down the decision-making process.
  • The team’s decisions may not be what’s best for the agency.

2. Authoritative Leadership

Authoritative leaders take full responsibility for their team and the decision-making process. They often make decisions without consulting the team, but they offer clear directions when assigning tasks.

Pros

  • This leadership style can help jumpstart new teams or projects.
  • Best used in low-consequence decision-making that won’t affect the team’s overall goals or dynamics.

Cons

  • Often leads to resentful employees and a lack of trust in the leader.
  • Cuts down on innovation or brainstorming of new ideas.
  • Can be draining on the team and the leader.

3. Delegative Leadership

Known as the laissez-faire leadership style, delegative leaders put their trust in their team. They give their team members autonomy to make decisions to reach goals on their own.

Pros

  • The team takes complete ownership of tasks.
  • This style promotes collaboration and builds an engaged workforce.
  • The leader can be more hands-off and focus on their own tasks.

Cons

  • Team members may feel overwhelmed with too much responsibility.
  • Leaders have less control over projects and tasks.

A good leader uses pieces of all of these leadership styles to create an environment that’s positive, effective, and efficient.

4 Ways to Cultivate Leadership at Your Agency

To cultivate more insurance leaders, your agency has to create an environment that encourages their growth. Follow these tips to help you create more leaders within your team.

1. Promote Leadership Values

Leading by example cultivates more leaders in your team. As you lead with integrity and empathy, you influence your team to do the same.

For example, you can encourage integrity within your agency by being honest and respectful to the team. Be open about the agency’s performance goals while asking for honest input from your team.

2. Encourage a Growth Mindset

Someone with a growth mindset is always looking to improve themselves. They don’t see failure as a setback. Rather, they look at failure as an opportunity to try something different.

One of the best ways to build growth-minded leaders is to let employees take ownership of tasks. Give them the chance to take on challenges and find solutions on their own. You should still provide encouragement and direction to help them find success.

3. Offer Continuous Training

Natural leaders look for ways to learn. Whether they want to know more about selling insurance or agency operations, you can help curious leaders by providing training opportunities.

A coaching or mentorship program helps with continuous training. Mentorship pairs existing leaders or senior team members with newer members. The more experienced leader walks the newer team member through more complex tasks, so they can learn new skills.

4. Give More Responsibilities

Leaders take on more responsibilities than other members of the team. They often work outside of their job description or take on new projects.

You can help build strong leaders by giving team members new responsibilities. For example, you notice a team member who regularly helps others refine and practice sales scripts. You could ask them to present their tips for successful sales calls to the team as a whole. Or, you could give them the responsibility of training all new team members.

Create More Insurance Leaders at Your Agency

Your team has more potential leaders than you might realize. Start by observing your team to find each member’s strengths and weaknesses. You can use these to create an environment that nurtures leaders in the insurance sector.

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