Are You an Authentic Leader in Your Industry?

Cathy's Tuesday TipMy team and I work hard every day to help our clients maneuver through the complicated world of insurance claims. As an insurance leader for over 30 years and an entrepreneur for more than 20 years, I learned that before I could lead, I first had to lead myself. I work right along beside my team of adjusters to build real, authentic relationships with our clients, many of which have been with me since the beginning of my career. These strong relationships are truly the foundation of my career, my company, and my leadership style. Are you an authentic leader in your industry? Read this great article by Brent Kelly about the 7 traits of authentic insurance leaders. Hope you enjoy Cathy’s Tuesday Tip– Cathy Hester

7 Traits of Authentic Insurance Leaders by BRENT KELLY

The idea of leadership is often misunderstood, especially in the insurance industry. In my 15 years of being an insurance agent, I rarely thought of myself as a leader. In my mind, I was “just an agent.” What a terrible mistake. That’s because I didn’t fully understand the true definition and role of leadership. I thought that “true” leadership was awarded, appointed or assigned. I thought that leadership only came with an impressive title or position. The reality is that none of those things are true.

If you have ethical influence with those around you then you are a leader. If you don’t, no title or position will make up for your lack of influence. As the proverb says, “He who thinks he leads but has no followers is simply out taking a walk.” Leadership comes in various shapes and sizes. Every day you could be leading your family, your team, your prospects, your clients, your community, or your neighbor. Leadership is influence.

So what are the traits of real leaders?

If leadership is influence, what are the traits that can help you become a better leader regardless if you are a CEO, VP, agency principle, sales manager, producer, or service representative?

Here are 7 traits of authentic insurance leaders:

1. Character

The first test of any true leader is how they lead themselves. Before you can lead and influence anyone else, you must first be able to lead yourself. Character is influence.

2. Relationships

In today’s fast and technological world, building authentic relationships is often overlooked. Strong relationships are foundational for any leader. Relationships are influence.

3. Knowledge

Knowledge won’t make you a leader, but without it you can’t lead effectively. An influential leader has vision, an understanding of facts, and keeps up to date on industry changes. Knowledge is influence.

4. Intuition

Intuitiveness is hard to define but is vital for any leader. You must know more than just facts and data to lead. You must be able to trust your “feelings” and act when your gut is telling you that there is low energy, poor timing, or lost momentum. Intuition is influence.

5. Experience

The more you experience, the more you can share. However, you can’t just experience each day, you must also spend time in reflection to turn that experience into insight. Evaluated experience allows you to add more value to those around you. Experience is influence.

6. Past success

Every win you have in your life in business builds credibility and influence. People want to know what you have done and what you have achieved. Small wins build into larger wins and give you momentum. Past success is influence.

7. Ability

Your followers want to know that you can help them. How can you make their lives better? Demonstrating your ability to serve others increases your influence. You may be helping an employee, solving a problem for your client, or adding premium growth with a partner company. Ability is influence.

Leadership is often misunderstood, but that does not reduce its impact. If you have influence (and you do), you are a leader. Apply and improve upon these seven traits of leadership to your life and business and increase your influence. The world and the insurance industry needs your leadership now more than ever.

Brent M. Kelly is keynote speaker, trainer, coach, and certified partner with the John Maxwell Team. He provides inspirational and purposeful business growth for insurance professionals. You can connect with him at or email him at

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