Characteristics Of the Top Leader

Domenico Bertini VP of Field Operations for American Income Life

Domenico Bertini VP of Field Operations for American Income Life

There’s no doubt that good leadership, that rare blend of presence and will, can turn a shaky agency into a smooth running one, and a smooth running one into a great agency; and that bad leadership can eventually sink even a great agency.

One reason that leadership is so rare is that it is in itself a paradox. Think about it: great leaders need to be humble and iron willed at the same time. They need to get people to do what they, the leaders want. But as soon as they try to make it happen, they fail. The classic tools leaders use to motivate, money and threats, are not very effective.

Leaders always ask themselves: “How do I motivate my people?” when they should really ask: “How do I create the conditions where they motivate themselves?” Churchill answered that question by treating a group of doubting officials as heroes, in order to get them to act as such and stop a defeat by the Nazis. This leadership aikido can come handy for all of us, even when civilization is not at stake.

Some leaders can look great, be loud and perform badly; or they can act low key and become tremendously successful.

What we know is that leadership decisions and actions can mean the difference between success and failure.

As a leader you must learn how to become bullet proof: never surprised, never unsecured, never in doubt.

And you must develop yourself into a:

1. Visionary: the architect of your agency long-term plan.

2. Motivator: communicate that plan to the sales force and convince them that your plan is good.

3. Operator: understand about the bolts and nuts that make your agency the top place to work with. Make plans and deal with problems that threaten productivity, retention and business overall.

Today’s successful leaders have to be both good tacticians and good strategists. Strategy is needed to understand the ways your agency must change in order to succeed. Tactics are needed to get the most out of your current assets.

You must have the will to win and succeed. That means that more often than not, you have to be willing to do what you are asking your people to do; keep your eyes on the bottom line: the quality of your business.

You have to be willing to do the utmost to keep your people from leaving your agency. The strength of your American Income Life agency is in your recruiting and retention of your agents, and as leaders you have to create an environment in which the best agents can thrive.

And in the end, once you have developed a plan, you have to get your people to stick to it.

About Mark Ting

Mark Ting is a Staff Writer at Torchmark Corporation, writing about American Income Life and National Income Life Insurance Companies. Google+

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