Like it or not, we will all become leaders one day as we climb the corporate ladder. That is a fact. Whether you have a team under you or you are mentoring a group of interns. 

Interestingly, leadership requires distinct behaviours and attitudes. It does not operate the same as how you may operate now.

Think about this - before you are a leader, success is all about growing your own career. But once you become a leader, success is all about growing others.

In this leadership branding workshop specially curated for the insurance industry, attendees included both the seasoned financial consultants and aspiring agency leaders.

So if you want to be a leader but you missed my sharing, fret not. Let me recap the 3 proven ways how you can build your leadership brand.

 

Tip #1: Know Your Leadership Style

As a leader (or aspiring one), you should first start by discovering your leadership style.

Different leaders lead differently. Some lead by example, others by encouragement and surprisingly, some by fear.

Knowing your leadership style is important because you need to know how you normally act and react to people. More importantly, knowing your leadership style allows you to adapt your style to different situations.

All leaders have a preferred leadership style. But do note that leadership styles are not static and should not be. All leaders should be adaptive and flexible to comfortably switch between styles. It depends on the situation, who’s involved and what’s at stake.

For example, when dealing with an imminent crisis, a leader should adopt a more directive style and not appear to be wishy-washy as the team is looking to him for leadership. 

When interacting with newer financial advisers or younger managers, a leader would be best off with a coaching style.

As a leader myself, I personally choose among three leadership styles which I can transit effortlessly.

leadership-branding-workshop-lionel-lim

 

Tip #2: Express Your Leadership Story

Ask yourself why people should choose to follow you instead of someone else.

If you cannot answer this question, then you must do some deep soul-searching.

All leaders have a brand story. What’s yours?

Each time you share your brand story, is it able to excite, captivate and attract the right audience? If yes, congratulations! Remember, you need to attract talents into your organization or agency (for this matter) in order to grow.

In between the breaks, I spoke to some financial consultants who were kind of shy to openly express their leadership brand story. But hey, if you remain shy, then you will be steamrolled by the other agency leaders out there. In any industry, competition is stiff…what more the insurance industry.

A good piece of homework you can work on is to craft your leadership brand story and say it out loud. Are you excited, captivated and attracted by what you just heard?

 

Tip #3: Get Your Leader A.C.T Together

All leaders must possess a certain set of values. Of these values, I recommend authenticity, credibility and transparency. Put together, they form my acronym A.C.T.

When leaders get their A.C.T together, magic happens in the organization. Consultants, executives and managers are invigorated because they know the leader walks the talk. He also encourages open channels of communication and there is mutual trust.

I would love to work in an agency under such a dynamic leader!

Conversely, imagine you are sloppy, unprofessional, temperamental and worse, you show favoritism openly.

For each touchpoint, I personally make an effort to ask my team for their honest feedback individually (so no one feels obliged to engage in groupthink). In this way, not only can I improve as a leader, but it also helps uplift the entire mood in the company knowing that I am also constantly improving.

Remember, leaders are humans and not Gods. The day you stop learning, unlearning and relearning is the day your team (or agency) gets overtaken in the competitive race. And the basic fundamental starts with getting your leadership A.C.T together.

Leadership is an ongoing and constantly evolving journey for everyone. But the safest and surest way to ensure you are on the right track is to work on your leadership brand =)

 

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It is an open secret that the retail business scene is getting increasingly crowded. In fact, the brick and mortar stores are not doing so well…all thanks to the rise of online shopping portals.

While shopping online seems to be the cooler and cheaper option for many nowadays, there are things you need to look out for before making that purchase. As a savvy customer, you must be diligent and do your checks first.

 

#1: Check The Delivery Terms And Conditions

Prices may appear cheaper on first sight. But this is before the freight charges. If you are buying from an overseas online portal, you also need to factor in the shopping cost and other taxes (if applicable). These may add up to quite a bit.

What is worst is if the item never arrives.

The background checks I will do include:

• What is the length of delivery? (i.e. when can I expect to receive my item?)

• Do they ship overseas? If yes, is there free delivery? If not, how much do I have to pay?

• Is there a tracking number for my item?

 

#2: Check The Return Policy

In fact, I learnt this the hard way. I once bought an item online that was listed as size M. But when I received it, it was size XL. That’s a huge difference. And the product quality was less than acceptable.

Questions you should ask yourselves include:

• Do they entertain returns? Who pays for the return? 

• Is the return process cumbersome?

 

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#3: Check The Reputation Of The Online Store

Online stores pop up so frequently. And almost all require you to key in your credit card details before making the purchase. 

Giving away your credit card details is like handing your house keys to a stranger. You never know what you are going to get yourself into.

Always check the reputation of the online store. Areas of concern would include:

• Is it trustworthy? 

• Is it a secure site? Check if the URL starts with https which means all communication between your brower and the site is encrypted.

• Does the website look like a cheap rip-off?

• Are there any other red flags? Worse, is it a bogus store selling fake goods?

 

Despite all the complaints I’ve heard from clients, students and friends, I am still a great fan of online shopping as there are really good genuine deals. All you have to do is to do your homework first. 

 

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