Despite recent research and shifting perspectives, the importance of having emotionally intelligent leaders is still often overlooked. More often, motivation, previous successes and technical knowledge are among the assets that tend to hold the greatest weight when it comes to hiring and promoting people to management roles. The insurance industry is no different: Many executives still see emotional intelligence as a less important soft skill that’s a bonus for leadership, not required. Unfortunately, this often leads to highly capable technical associates moving to a management track that does not suit their skills.

Executive Summary

Many insurance industry executives still see emotional intelligence as a soft skill that's a bonus for leadership but not required. Such thinking leads to highly capable technical associates moving to a management track even though they're not well suited for leadership roles, notes Novarica's Nancy Casbarro. EI is critical whether a business is thriving or transforming. Here, she summarizes five paths to success available to companies with emotionally intelligent leaders.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, manage and influence one’s own emotions and those of others. Practically, this means being able to handle pressure, communicate effectively with a wide variety of people, and maintain a high level of self-awareness as well as an awareness of others. It also means being able to keep emotions in check, make rational decisions and provide swift conflict resolution.

A senior executive should be able to connect with all levels of employees and understand how he or she needs to change and adapt to interact with different people. This is critical both when the business is thriving and especially during more difficult times of transformation. An emotionally intelligent leader knows how to drive a successful business by motivating employees and helping them see opportunity while also assisting as they navigate their way through challenges.

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