Redefining Leadership: 5 Skills Our Members Say True Leaders Possess


PIMA is an organization defined by its members. They are leaders from diverse roles and backgrounds, including numerous presidents, CEOs, founders, and managing directors. Heads of marketing, heads of strategic development, senior vice presidents — the list of impressive titles goes on and on.

The benefit of having such a collection of leaders in our midst is that members can share their leadership qualities, gaining insights that help them learn, grow, and remain relevant in their fields.

PIMA is a place where leaders learn and pursue their curiosity. This spirit of learning creates opportunities for innovation, but this isn’t just an atmosphere. PIMA provides tangible ways to connect to other executive leaders, such as our advisory forums (dedicated times and spaces where members can share information and insights) or our semiannual conferences (events that bring members of the financial services and insurance industry together to learn about the trends that will affect them in the coming year).

This spirit of collaboration and innovation also gives us a glimpse of the future of leadership. Our members learn so much from each other — these are some of the key leadership skills our members have shared:

1. Leadership is transformed, not born.
Those looking to define what a "perfect leader" often attempt to pin the role down to some inherent qualities. They claim you're either a born leader or you aren't. At PIMA, we’ve seen that true leadership is the result of many tiny transformations over time. It is learned during moments of hardship, moments of resilience, mistakes, and successes.

Employees love to hear these stories, too. In fact, 70% of workers said hearing about the hurdles leaders have overcome on their paths to success is a great way to build trust, according to a survey from Edelman; the same survey found that 62% of employees are inspired by hearing how leaders’ educations have shaped them.

2. Leadership is transparent.
Influential leadership cannot exist without trust. In fact, 94% of employees note that trust in senior leaders is a critical part of their working lives.

Transparency, then, is one of the most important qualities a leader can show. Opening up company conversations to the whole organization, being honest about challenges and mistakes, and sharing excitement ensures that all employees feel safe and motivated.

3. Leadership is friendly.
Gone are the days of frightening leadership, in which employees performed based on their desire to remain employed. Today, the best leaders make employees feel confident and empowered to be proactive.

Leaders who want to get the most out of their teams and develop true cohesion must focus on building an atmosphere of approachability in their organizations. This way, employees will feel empowered to share ideas and work together beyond their job descriptions.

4. Leadership is solving complex problems.
One of the qualities that makes great leaders so rare is problem-solving. It’s been shown to be the second-most sought-after skill for an effective leader.

Leading an organization brings a host of problems, all woven into the fabric of the working day. To assess these issues — and use creative ingenuity to work through them — takes a special kind of mind.

Our collection of inspirational executive leaders may hold many different titles, work at different companies, and lead a diverse group of teams. Despite these differences, they all have one important quality in common: They know what it means to guide and empower others in the pursuit of a common goal.

PIMA® (Professional Insurance Marketing Association®) is a member-driven trade association focused exclusively on the group-sponsored benefits market. For more information on becoming a member, click here.