Linked In Leadership Thoughts - Mary Beth Sanford - Sedgwick

Leadership Thoughts - Mary Beth Sanford

From Sedgwick Connection: Mary Beth Sanford was honored by Business Insurance as one of their 25 Women to Watch in insurance last week at their annual gala and conference. Mary Beth shares her thoughts on leadership in the following blog and interview.


I truly believe in the servant leadership model.  Leaders must focus on serving their colleagues and senior leaders in order to ensure the ultimate success.  It is your staff of colleagues that actually produces the work so it is critical that you provide them with the support, leadership and guidance so that they can produce exceptional results for clients.  It is important to set expectations, provide resources training and support, remove barriers and hold colleagues accountable to the expectations.

As a leader, you must set a clear vision, ensure you have the right people in the right jobs, be honest and up front, inspire and influence your team, drive for results, measure outcomes, reward positive results, and communicate on a constant basis both formally and informally.

One thing I find very important is to ensure that you are giving regular feedback to your team so that they know where they stand with both what they are doing well and what they need to do to improve.  Given that, we have developed several training development programs for colleagues both interested in management and those that are already in management.  We want to ensure that people have a realistic view of what it takes to perform in a management position and that we are providing the resources to help them get there.

I have always made sure that I never forget what it’s like to sit out in a unit and do the job that we ask our colleagues to perform every day.  I started as a bill review trainee 30 years ago and I still remember how it felt if training programs weren’t effective, if I had computer problems or if I had ideas and solutions and no one wanted to hear them.  I want to make sure that our colleagues always feel like they can provide their feedback and share their good ideas, because it is their collective hard work and input that allow us to be successful.

I also believe that it is important to remember that for your team to shine, a boss must step out of spotlight.  Your job is to ensure that your team gets what they need to succeed and that they enjoy the reward and recognition that comes with success.  If they are growing and developing, then you are doing your job as a manager.

Your actions and behaviors are absolutely critical in a leadership position.  You are a role model and need to carry yourself with the understanding that people are always watching you and how you handle yourself.  You can’t just meet expectations, you have to far exceed them.  You must have the highest level of integrity, be dependable, follow the rules, and deliver on promises.

One of my favorite sayings is by Margaret Thatcher – “Being in power is like being a lady.  If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

Mary Beth Sanford
Senior Vice President, Managing Director

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