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Manage Yourself

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 26, 2018

25 Tips for Leaders


Insurance executives are bombarded with self-improvement advice—articles pushed to their smartphones and emails flooding their inboxes hyping books and courses that promise to pave the way to stress-free leadership or the silver bullet of work-life balance.

What’s the best advice? Putting down the mobile and shutting down the email clutter in order to find time to think comes up frequently. Recognizing the value in taking a break from the noise, we whittled down the pile into manageable tips—categorized by topic—to use as a starting point to track down needed guidance as you come up against some of your most frustrating daily challenges.

Becoming Emotionally Intelligent

Dealing With Self-Doubt

  • Don’t focus on the wall. In early training, race car drivers learn to focus on the road, not the wall. When CEOs face crises, psychological meltdowns are more common than they admit. Other tips from a leader who has been there: Make some friends. Get it out of your head and onto paper. (“What’s the Toughest CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology,” TechCrunch, March 31, 2011 by Ben Horowitz; “Getting Out of Your Own Head,”, Nov. 28, 2017 by Alisa Cohn)
  • Permit yourself to be where you are. “Sometimes the novel is not ready to be written because you haven’t met the inspiration for your main character yet.” Give yourself permission to be human. Show up in the moment and let that be enough. (“To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind,” The Medium, Feb. 5, 2016 by Jamie Varon)
  • Respect yourself. Would you talk to a child or a stranger in the negative way you talk to yourself? Silence your inner critic by recognizing who or what triggers it and asking whether your thoughts are constructive and factual or just negative interpretations. (“Why self-talk is the most powerful hack in the world?”, June 15, 2016 by LaRae Quy)
  • Make realistic comparisons. If you’re a new writer, comparing yourself to a Pulitzer Prize winning, multi-bestselling author only deflates you. Having a “pace horse” to which you can create a fair comparison serves as a better motivator. (“How to Fight Back Against Self-Doubt,” Forbes, March 19, 2018 by Ron Carucci)

Improving Your Performance

Managing Stress

  • Run at the dog. One way to build resilience is to run toward what makes you uncomfortable. Other tactics: Recall the benefits of past challenges; question the catastrophe; build a challenge mindset; take a behavioral break with exercise or breathing. (“Resilience 101: How to Be a More Resilient Person,” Psychology Today, March 15, 2018 by Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.)
  • Help others. Engaging in activities that serve others, such as community service, can offer a release from daily stress. Simply taking time off can also be a stress reliever if strong teams can back up executives while they’re away. (“Managing Executive Stress,” Carrier Management, June 1, 2014 by Kathleen Mahieu and Denise Heybrock)
  • Eat right. To maintain a healthy, balanced mood, avoid sugar and highly refined, processed oils, which include canola, corn and soybean oil. (“How your next meal could help fight depression and stress,” CNN, March 20, 2018 by Max Lugavere)
  • Let your mind wander more. When your mind has wandered to an anxiety-producing threat, purposely allow it to wander more by knitting, gardening or meditating to loosen the mind’s grip on your threat-focused reality. (“Brain science suggests ‘mind wandering’ can help manage anxiety,” Harvard Health Publishing, Nov. 17, 2016 by Srini Pillay)

Finding Work-Life Balance

Managing Your Health

  • Love your work if you’re a workaholic. Engaged workaholics have fewer health risks than non-engaged ones. They also have more resources at home and at work, including social support (e.g., advice, information, appreciation). (“How Being a Workaholic Differs From Working Long Hours and Why That Matters for Your Health,” Harvard Business Review, March 22, 2018 by Lieke ten Brummelhuis and Nancy P. Rothbard)
  • Walk two minutes every hour. Just standing won’t offset health hazards of sitting for most of the day. (“How to Counteract the Health Risks of Sitting Too Much,” Carrier Management, May 14, 2015; “Light-Intensity Physical Activities and Mortality in the United States General Population and CKD Subpopulation,” Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology)

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