Does Being a Great Agent Make You a Great Manager?

I am excited to announce a great new professional development opportunity.  The IIANC Executive Leadership Program is coming to Cary beginning August 22.  The program consists of four 4-hour interactive sessions, limited to 12 participants each.  It is designed for agency owners/managers/supervisors and Young Agents looking to enhance their leadership skills.  The facilitator for the Executive Leadership Program is Christina Barker with Executive Leadership Solutions in Hilton Head, SC.  Christina has written a blog to let you know how this exciting new program can help you take your agency to the next level. Click here for more information about the program.


Does being a great agent automatically make you a good manager? I’d have to say no. But how often do we promote our stand-out agents to leadership and management roles within our agencies, expecting them to transfer their talents from one area to the other seamlessly and without snafus? The answer is “all the time.”

In fact, this may be one of the most common errors made in the management of the internal workings of our agencies. Just because someone is excellent technically does not mean they have the soft skills required to smoothly dance the management tango. And do you really want to take your highest grossing producer and divert his or her attention from the profitable activities that bring the agency revenue?

But you still need someone to handles all the items that a manager juggles. Without management in all the right places, you become a group of people working in individual silos, perhaps holding each other accountable for results, but probably not; perhaps working toward goals that align with the goals of the agency, but probably not; perhaps communicating key information effectively, but probably not.

If you want to take your agency to the next level, both in terms of profitability and workplace excellence, you must have visionary leadership beginning with solid management skills. In order to help you practice and develop those skills, your association is introducing the Executive Leadership Program for member agencies.

The program combines one-on-one coaching and leadership training with problem-solving techniques around management-related issues. The training component is conducted in a roundtable setting and limited to 10 participants.

The group meets in four monthly four-hour sessions. In between sessions, participants may opt for a one-on-one coaching session with the program facilitator, who holds each participant accountable for trying out strategies and problem-solving techniques discussed in the training.

Participants learn to:

  • -Understand their individual management profile and what employees expect and respect in a leader.
  • -Hold a strategic planning meeting with their team that motivates and reconnects the team to their performance expectations.
  • -Develop productivity standards that measure individual and team performance through goal planning and the “results to resources ratio” scorekeeping method.
  • -Build a unified and cohesive team through improved team trust, communication, and accountability.
  • -Identify their “high pay-off” activities, and begin to delegate and manage their team more effectively.
  • -Maximize leadership opportunities through organizational change and economic uncertainty.
  • -Encourage employees by understanding their motivational styles and preferences and eliminate actions that de-motivate employees.
  • -Identify their unique challenges to managing others effectively with tips and techniques provided by their individual coach.
  • -Cultivate a positive attitude while improving on their professional development.

There’s no greater investment than a well-trained, superbly developed management team to lead your efforts into tomorrow. Send us your supervisors, managers and young agents and we’ll send you back leaders!

About the author: Christina Barker is the leadership facilitator and coach for the IIANC Executive Leadership Program. She entered the industry in 1993 as a Personal Lines agent for Coastal Plains Insurance in Hilton Head Island, SC. Over time, she became the Personal Lines manager and then the Commercial Lines manager. Eventually taking the helm as Agency Manager, she and her husband bought the agency and become Agency Principals. The agency grew in revenue three times over from purchasing in 2001 to selling in 2010.

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