What makes a successful leader and how do you continue to be successful when the inevitable challenges come along?
Gary asked a number of Senior Executives from different sectors of the Insurance market for their top tips and advice.
7) Favourite motivational/ leadership book?
Andy Fairchild – I like Malcolm Gladwell his stuff is firmly based in the real world.
Andrew Bennett – Managing to Survive – John Harvey Jones. Or Steven Covey – Seven Habits.
Greg Gladwell – The Magic of Thinking Big.
Steve Groves – Don’t like them. Read “The Corporation” if you must read a business book!
Karen Beales – To be honest – not really my thing!
Mike Srokowski – Differentiate or Die – Jack trout.
8) Top tip on work/life balance?
Andy Fairchild – Make sure you’ve got some passions outside of work.
Andrew Bennett – Remember why you’re working hard – as one day if you don’t, you might turn around and find that reason has gone.
Greg Gladwell – Find some decent chill time and reward yourself when you have done well.
Steve Groves – Life has four variables, working hours, sleeping hours, family time and hobbies. It is unlikely you can prioritise more than two so work out which two really matter and align your schedule to them. Be prepared for them to change over time.
Karen Beales – Difficult one – we all preach to have a great balance but inevitably it can be difficult at time. I think be honest with your partner/family – if you need have to conclude something, then tell them – then at least when you are with them you can be wholly with them! There is no point trying to juggle both.
9) Any other comments/Tips?
Andy Fairchild – Faced with a choice on clever positioning or telling the truth, go with the truth option.
Andrew Bennett – Trust your people, if you can’t you need to change, or change your people.
Greg Gladwell – Find something that excites you and the people around you. For me it’s important to get up in the morning with full commitment to give.
Steve Groves – Yes, you spend a huge proportion of your working life in work as do your people. Enjoy it, be pleasant and remember that being a leader isn’t about having all the answers, it is about creating an environment in which the answer can emerge from wherever its hiding.
Karen Beales – Culture is probably the most important feature for any leader – remember you are leading a team of people to achieve a strategy which you have defined. You need to share with them openly what the strategy is and how they fit into the strategy, what difference can they make and regularly update them – and ideally verbally – avoid the use of email if poss! It is amazing how much people follow what you are doing or saying – always come out of your office with a smile – even if you don’t feel like it, otherwise staff will believe there is a problem!
This series of interviews have been amazingly well received and appreciated. Based on this encouraging response, I will be conducting more similar interviews with some of the leading figures in the Insurance market.
Keep an eye out in the weeks ahead.