Matthew Davis is President of GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.
Being the CEO or leader of a company requires exceptional leadership skills in order to navigate the complexities of your industry. Especially in highly regulated and demanding sectors like insurance, effective leadership is paramount for achieving success and establishing a competitive edge within your market.
In the end, you are the face of your company, and your vision will shape the goals and objectives within your organization. It is up to you to motivate your team and ensure growth, profitability and longevity.
Leaders should inspire confidence.
Like many industries, the insurance market I work in is ever-changing with new policies, regulations, mandates, governance, etc. It can be overwhelming and stressful at times. Team members may feel burnout and frustration more frequently than normal, which requires additional tools to ensure the job gets done.
Being a consistent leader that exemplifies confidence, humility, integrity and accountability can help minimize frustration within your workforce. You can establish a standard of excellence and encourage your employees to strive for continuous improvement through your leadership. A healthy culture will drive the company’s reputation and attract top talent, ultimately strengthening its position in the market.
I think your main responsibility should be to execute your strong decision-making skills and help provide a clear direction for your team, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. It is also essential to build trust among your employees by communicating openly, listening to their ideas and providing support when needed. At the end of the day, it is your job to ensure everything is running like a well-oiled machine.
You have the power to motivate and inspire your team as their leader and this can be done in many ways. My organization does a few different things to show our appreciation for our hard-working team, but a few of my favorites that we have implemented are the following:
1. Recognize and reward your team for their hard work and dedication to your company.
• Handwritten thank-you notes. Take the time to personally acknowledge and express your appreciation for your team members’ hard work with a pen-to-paper handwritten note. There is nothing more personal than the leader of your company taking the time to write a personal thank you card. Genuine recognition can go a long way in making employees feel valued.
• Employee of the month/quarter/year. Implement an employee recognition program that highlights exceptional performance. Consider selecting an outstanding team member regularly and publicly recognizing their achievements. My organization does quarterly standouts due to the size of our company.
• Team building activities. Organize team-building activities or social events to celebrate achievements and foster camaraderie. These activities can range from team lunches, happy hours or recreational outings. We do these regularly within my company, and it provides such a sense of unity when we bond outside of the office. As leaders of our organization, we often have to think outside the box to foster a healthy work culture.
2. Provide regular positive and constructive feedback.
• Be specific and timely. As the leader of your company, it is vital to provide feedback as soon as possible after observing the positive behavior or achievement. Be specific about what the employee did well and why it was valuable. This is a top priority for my organization, and when executed in a timely manner, it can greatly boost confidence and uplift morale.
• Be genuine and sincere. I’ve found that employees can tell when you are not being authentic. Always approach constructive feedback with authenticity.
3. Create an environment where employees feel supported and appreciated.
• Foster a healthy work-life balance. This is huge. I believe that our families should be above anything else, including work. I encourage my employees to prioritize self-care and personal well-being. You can lead by example and discourage a culture of overwork or burnout, especially when it comes to more demanding professions.
• Open and transparent communication. Establish open lines of communication where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns and feedback. You can encourage regular communication through team meetings, one-on-one check-ins and suggestion boxes. Effective communication begins and ends with the leadership qualities of the CEO. Your team needs to feel comfortable and heard when coming to you with their concerns and/or suggestions.
• Provide support and resources. Ensure that employees have the necessary tools, resources and training to perform their roles effectively. The insurance industry is always changing, which can sometimes cause frustration. Make sure to address any obstacles or challenges your team may encounter promptly and provide the support they need to overcome them.
Being the leader of your entire organization is no small task, but with the simple actions and the right leadership qualities, you can create an environment where your team is inspired to strive for greatness. Acknowledging, listening and appreciating your team can help you maintain your success and longevity in an ever-changing insurance market.
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