Whether you’re just starting a business or you’ve been calling the shots as the CEO for years, it pays to think about what it takes to be a great leader. There’s a lot of leadership advice out there — not all of it actionable. So when you have the opportunity to learn from the best, grab on with both hands.
As the Owner of Insurance Claim HQ, a property insurance firm operating in more than seven states including Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and Georgia, my team and I have helped over 800 families rebuild their homes and businesses.
But it wasn’t until I started my new firm in August of 2020 that I really discovered what it’s like to lead effectively during turbulent times. With the pandemic raging, I made my team a promise: money might get tight. But if you fight for us, we’ll fight for you. And our turnover rate speaks for itself — zero.
So what are the five most important steps a business leader should take to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? What follows are the actionable steps I learned from my experience in the past year. Let’s take a look!
1. Be upfront with your staff.
The promise I made to my team when I started my firm encapsulates this first piece of advice. Effective leaders lead with transparency and instinctively know how to build a culture of trust among their employees. When leaders are upfront and tell their employees what they know about a crisis situation or challenge the business faces, employees will follow their leader anywhere.
However, good leaders also don’t confuse being upfront with their staff with burdening them with unnecessary emotional labor. You can be transparent without oversharing. You can be vulnerable without sending a shockwave of panic through your people. Being upfront means walking that line with your head held high.
2. Develop honest, trusting relationships with your customers.
Loyalty cannot be bought, but it can be earned. Because I have worked hard to earn the trust of my clients, I can count on current clients to refer us to others. In fact, some of my clients actively go out and find new clients for Insurance Claim HQ.
I don’t pay them or compensate them in any way for this. I just treat all of them fairly and honestly.
3. Realize there is a person behind every organization.
When companies grow quickly, it’s easy for leaders to lose their bearings and for partnerships to stumble as a result. Effective leaders learn to rein themselves in before things get off track. One way to stay grounded is to remind yourself that there is a person behind every organization you deal with.
I’m known for saying that I don’t represent claim numbers, I represent people. But this goes both ways. Everyone I deal with — friend or foe — is a real person. When leaders convey this attitude, business relationships grow stronger, client relationships become unbreakable, and even your “enemies” will start to like you.
Everyone responds to being seen and heard, so extend that courtesy to everyone and pay attention to what changes.
4. Remember, money actually does grow on trees.
It may not always seem like money grows on trees, but in reality there is always a way to make money. In a capitalist society, like the one we live in, wealth is never out of reach. Still, money isn’t everything. For great leaders, this means you don’t need to sacrifice your values to increase your revenues. It also means that you don’t need to look at any one deal as the “make or break” for your company.
My team takes the money grows on trees approach because it encourages everyone to identify opportunities. The idea is that if you adopt an abundance mindset, you’ll be open to the opportunities that present themselves. So if one of our junior attorneys sees a way to save on expenses or identifies an easy revenue stream, they speak up.
5. Row with the disaster.
Finally, many otherwise effective leaders fall down when disaster strikes. It’s one thing to be a great leader when profits are rising, team morale is up, and market forces are flowing in your favor. It’s a whole different thing to be a great leader in the midst of a serious crisis.
My advice here: don’t fight what you cannot change — row with it. Every challenge presents an opportunity for growth. For example, consider all the live event companies that had to pivot on a dime once lockdown happened. They faced an existential threat. And yet, the companies with great leaders found innovative ways to rise to the challenge and capitalize on the global audiences accessible through the new virtual world.
If you can learn to row with whatever disaster comes your way and teach your team to do the same you’re basically bulletproof.
The greatest leaders understand how to bring out the best in everyone despite circumstances. Follow these five steps to bring effective leadership within reach!
Galen M Hair, Owner at Insurance Claim HQ, is a property insurance attorney who has helped over 800 families rebuild their homes and businesses. He has been rated a Super Lawyers Rising Star, and voted one of National Trial Lawyers Top 100. Click here to learn more about protecting your property from disaster: https://insuranceclaimhq.com/new-orleans-hurricane-damage-lawyer/