Team Leader Growth Opportunity

Insurance Claims Team Leader – Closed April 2013

Our client specializes in the coordination of specialty auto glass claims. With an entrepreneurial spirit, the company welcomes fresh ideas, values diversity and thrives on creativity. Being entrepreneurial, change is frequent, challenges abound and innovation is constant. Empowering people to take the initiative to serve our customers is one of their core values. Our client is growing and is looking to fill an opening for a Team Leader. This position will be responsible for the daily metrics, training and improvement of our claim process and effectiveness of our claim coordinators. The Insurance Claims Team Leader will be responsible for the achievement of results and delivery of excellent customer service within the Claims Management Center. This is a growth opportunity to build a small call center in Troy, MI.

Key Responsibilities

• Manages and motivates a team of insurance claim representatives to promote a team environment and use of best practices.
• Directs and monitors adequate staffing levels to meet quality and budget standards.
• Develops, implements and measures team and individual performance standards.
• Coaches employees with regard to quality, reliability, accountability, and productivity.
• Manages and satisfies resolution of escalated claims.
• Conducts daily team meetings to discuss current production issues.
• Monitors employee calls and conducts client monitoring and quality assurance collaboration sessions.
• Assists with recruitment and interviewing of claim representatives.

Key Attributes:

• Ability to multi-task and enjoys working in a fast-paced environment.
• Ability to analyze data, recommend and implement a course of action for improved results
• Ability to inspire and motivate team members to work together to achieve desired results.
• Ability to work independently with little supervision.

Key Requirements:

• High School Diploma or GED, Bachelor’s Degree is preferred.
• A minimum of 2 years of call center/customer service team leader experience in an insurance claims, automotive repair, manufacturing or related setting.
• Demonstrated experience analyzing and resolving customer service and client issues.
• Thorough understanding of Call Center Operations, principles and metrics.
• High level of computer literacy including strong Microsoft Excel skills.

Our client will provide a competitive compensation and benefits package to the candidate selected. Interested candidates should submit their resumes via email to Andrea Walz,
Email Andrea at – that is .co not .com

We look forward to your resume submission.

Leader Self Reflection

Leadership Awareness and Leadership Feedback were two of the topics I spoke on this month to a local Community Hospital’s management team. The session was focused on a leaders own willingness to look in the mirror at how they are influencing the team and what impact are they making. Harvard Business School Professor Robert S. Kaplan speaks about Leadership Awareness in this short clip – What To Ask The Person In The Mirror.

Want A Promotion?

Want a Promotion? Write a letter that gets you noticed.
by Susan West

Jackie has been in her current job for more than 4 years. She has mastered projects she’s received year in and year out. She feels that she’s gone as far as she can in her current position. She’d like her boss and human resources department to know of her interest in advancement. Jackie writes a letter that points out her qualifications, experience and eagerness for a promotion. She bases her request on her performance and progress alone.

Here are some dos and don’ts that Jackie kept in mind when crafting the letter.


Tone of the letter
Jackie writes in a formal writing style and she checks her grammar, vocabulary and spelling. She is brief, confident and respectful.

Jackie begins her letter by saying that she has enjoyed working for the company. Jackie ends it by thanking her employer for taking the time to consider her request.

Why she wants a promotion
She states that her reason for seeking a promotion is to look for new challenges. She adds that she believes that she deserves what she is asking for.

List of accomplishments
Keeping in mind the position that she wants, Jackie does the following:

  • Gives examples of her accomplishments, loyalty, years of service, etc.
  • Lists her most important contributions to the company, including specific projects that she’s devised or managed.
  • Focuses on the progress she has made while at her company.
  • Mentions the skills that she’s acquired in her current job and any outside business classes or seminars she’s attended.
  • Concludes that she is ready to move up the ladder.

Request for an appointment
Jackie concludes her letter with a request for an appointment to discuss a new opportunity within the company.

Jackie has updated and enclosed her resume with her letter of interest.

Jackie has received many compliments from her colleagues and clients. She contacts them before she mentions this in her letter to make sure they would be willing to write actual letters of recommendation on her behalf when the time comes.


Jackie has avoided the following:

  • Don’t waste your employer’s time. She immediately gets to the point and states the reason why she believes she’s qualified for a promotion.
  • Don’t demand a promotion. Jackie is careful to make her letter a respectful request.
  • Don’t confuse your employer with auxiliary information that could weaken the message you actually want to convey. Jackie only mentions those skills that are needed to be successful in her new venture.
  • Don’t tell your boss what a ‘good egg’ you are and how you get along with everybody else. Maintain a professional tone and stick with your talents.
  • Don’t threaten to look for alternative employment if the request isn’t granted. This may not be the right time to get a promotion, but there will likely be another opportunity. For Jackie,her attitude of goodwill will be remembered and be considered for another opening.

Click here for a view of a sample letter, The Promotion Letter

It Makes Me Mad When…

Professional Womanby Susan West
Have you ever had a great thought or idea and then could not remember it a few days later? I have. And does it ever make me mad when I cannot remember a moment of my own brilliance. Funny how we have things come into our mind unexpectedly and they make perfect sense or raise a curiosity. Some of greatest leaders, philosophers have referred to their notes, journals, diaries for information that lead to a significant event.

Do you use a planner, a daily calendar, a task list? Whatever you use, find a place where you can jot down your ideas as they come to you. I have a journal I carry with me in my briefcase everyday. I use it for many things: 1) My vision and values are written down so I can refer to them daily, 2) My goals are documented, 3) I write down what I am grateful for, 4) I write down my reflections, observations, learnings of the moment, day, or week, and 5) I jot down my ideas. In the back of my journal I have a few pages reserved just for the purpose of capturing an idea, phrase, question, etc. that I would like to review later. In this area, I also write down a book, website or a movie that someone recommends to me.

Get a journal, a notebook or find a place in your planner to capture those unexpectedly brilliant thoughts in the moment they come to you. Do not let it get away. You will be amazed at what a valuable resource this becomes for you and for others. Although, at first glance, this suggestion may seem strange, I encourage your to give your ideas away to your team members. It is so empowering to watch your team members take ownership in an idea’s
development and ultimate delivery. An idea needs to be acted on to become reality. And as the saying goes, “all good things take time.” An idea will not become reality before its time. Yet we can be ready… Get a journal Capture your ideas Give an idea away Watch your idea unfold Begin again.

5 Things You Should Never Do…

by Susan West

Stop Right There! Leaders often make these five mistakes when under pressure or feeling stressed. Take the time to observe whether you have any of these habits and make a choice to change so you do not lose your leadership power.

1. Apologize for something that is not your fault or not your responsibility. “I’m sorry” is an overused statement and in many cases it has lost it’s meaning. Using this phrase is often a habit that woman managers fall into without realizing it. Watch how you use this phrase. For example, it is not necessary to apologize for not being available to take a call as many people state in their voice mail messages. Save using this term for when you really need it!

2. Whining by using a tone of voice or choice of words that sound like a young child.
Our effectiveness can be immediately minimized when we sound like a small child complaining because they have to pick up their toys. Often we can find ourselves “whining” when overloaded or surprised with additional work or feedback that we perceive as negative. Be careful to use a matter of fact approach if you feel the need to respond to a situation.

3. Taking credit for someone else’s work, no matter how small. As a leader, you already are in a position of some influence and recognized for some accomplishment. Not recognizing someone else’s work, leaving the impression that the work completed is yours (when it wasn’t) or worse yet, stating that the work done is yours (when it wasn’t) will lead to your losing credibility, trust and influence sooner or later. Abraham Lincoln even suggested taking it a step further by letting the team take credit for your work /idea with his quote “If you are a good leader, when your work is done, your aim fulfilled, your people will say – we did this ourselves.”

4. Dressing sloppily. Even in these times of casual business dress, being aware of your appearance and ensuring that you represent not only the position you desire but also the person you want to be is critical to your power and effectiveness. People do not take seriously the words of someone who has a rumpled, spotted shirt or blouse like they do a person who has a pressed, professional look.

5. Lying, not admitting that you may not have an answer. As we climb the leadership ladder, we are often expected to “know it all.” You may feel the expectations of already having all the necessary “experience.” In reality, times and business situations are changing so quickly, we cannot “know it all or have had all the necessary experience.” Do not be afraid to say “I do not know.” When under pressure or during stressful times, this can feel awkward. However, lying just to look good is never a good choice. A better choice is to say “I do not know” and then follow up with whatever action you can take “to know.”

Engaging Your Imagination

Engaging Your Imagination
by Susan West

Imagination is defined by Webster’s dictionary, as the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality; a creation of the mind. All things are possible. As Wallace D. Wattles states in his book Financial Success: Harnessing the Power of Creative Thought,

“There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe. A thought in this substance produces the thing that is imaged by the thought. A person can form things in his thought, and by impressing his thought upon formless substance, can cause the thing he thinks to be created.”

So think of this in terms of your business, a new service is created, a department is organized, a book is written. In our personal lives, a new house is designed and built, a new oak cabinet made, a painting created. All of these projects began with an idea, a thought. How do you become a leader demonstrating creativity? For most of us our imagination has been stifled. We must learn to uncover it again. At birth we had 100% imagination, it has been said that we have only 4% usage of imagination by age 7. Studies as referenced in Success at Life, “show remarkably, even shockingly, that in the first five years of life we as children are told no over fifty thousand times and yes only five thousand times. This foundation of conditioning is how children are trained to conform and succeed. The minute percentage of the victims who escape this fate become the rare minority that go and change the world.”

Would you like to be one of the rare minorities that make a difference? Even in your own business? This all begins with asking a question. Asking a question engages our imagination. And taking time to think, taking time to let our mind formulate answers to questions like – How may I better serve? How can I bring value to this situation? What can I do to show I care? – is very powerful.

Here is a simple way to engage your imagination to solve a problem or be creative:

1) pull out a blank sheet of paper,
2) write your problem or whatever you want to accomplish in the form of a question at the top of the page, and
3) jot down whatever comes to mind. Just let the ideas flow. One thought will lead to another. You will be amazed at what you can create!

How Leaders Can Reduce Stress Levels In 5 Simple Steps

As the new year is already on its way, you and your employees may be feeling the stress of getting into the routine again – hitting deadlines, satisfying customers, setting objectives, handling problems. For many organizations, their leaders and workers, this saying still applies “These are times that try men’s souls.”

As a leader, you are in a unique position to either help minimize or worsen job stress. Here are five ways to assist you in reducing the level of job stress:

1) Minimize surprises. Be aware of how you can give people advance warning about what’s coming that impacts the organization, the department or the job. By giving advance notice, there is time for some mental preparation and readiness. Remember how you felt when someone just sprung hard hitting news on you or made a request you were totally unprepared for. This means you have to be honest about what may happen rather than sugar coat it. Saying “yes, this may impact our department with layoffs, more work without added resources, etc” versus “no, nothing to worry about just now.”

2) Keep a sense of humor.
As the old saying goes “Laughter is the best medicine.” Researchers now say it may be true. Laughter boosts your spirits, stimulates circulation and relaxes tense muscles. The well being effects of laughter can lower blood levels of stress hormone cortisol while elevating levels for “feel good” brain chemicals, endorphins. So find a way to bring laughter to your staff meetings, your conversations with managers and employees; bring fun into the office by allowing for some play before the stress and morale gets desperate. Visit the dollar store for some koosh balls, foam footballs, Gumpy dolls to have around your office or share a cartoon like this
Dilbert comic strip

3) Manage your own mood. According to new research, by Gerben A. vanKleef of the University of Amsterdam, discussed in the Harvard Business Review article, Smile, Don’t Bark, in Tough Times, you get better results by cheering your employees on and fostering cooperation than you do by coming down hard on them. The article further states, “That’s because mental fatigue and time pressure during stressful periods make the team members more apt to simple react to a leader’s mood than to think carefully about his or her message.” I recall several instances where my mood, feeling angry or frustrated, had an unintended but immediate effect on my team. Thankfully, my admin would come into my office and say “What’s wrong? Employee X says your mad. Now the team is wondering what to do next, ” so I could take action to address the wrong impression. It was a reminder to manage my own emotions with clarity.

4) Allow employees to vent. Yes, manage your emotions but let employee’s vent. (You need to find your own place to vent – that’s another article.) During stressful times, employee emotions can range from worry about the future, distrust, self-pity, frustration, resentment, and depression. Allowing employees’ to vent versus condemning their emotions, arguing or discounting their problems, provides a space for them to express themselves, talk it out, get it off their chests. There are times when you need to put on your therapy hat and let the employees say what they need to say to move on and get back to work.

5) Show empathy. Empathy means identification of oneself with another and the resulting capacity to feel or experience sensations, emotions or thoughts similar to those being experienced by the other. I call it “Wearing her high heels.” As others have said, walk in their shoes. As a leader sometimes we forget how much information we have that our employees may not have or training that allows us to deal with many diverse situations. During stressful times, it is important to reflect on the situation from another person’s perspective. Showing empathy can be a critical leadership skill that bodes well for both you and your employees during stressful times.

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