Leading to success

Paul was among the cohort completing RSA's broker leader programme 2018-2019. Here he talks about why leadership development is so valuable

In September we launched the fifth edition of our annual broker training course, the Broker Leader Programme. Accredited by the Chartered Insurance Institute, it enables future leaders from our key broking partners to take part in management and leadership training, tailored to the general insurance market.

We sat down and spoke to Paul Huntley, head of private clients at Erskine Murray, one of the 10 brokers who took part in last year’s programme, to find out about his time on the course and to get an update on what he’s been up to since graduating in March.

Why did you apply for the Broker Leader Programme?

A senior colleague suggested I apply. Their exact words were: “we need to transition you from a manager into a leader”.

I’d never been on an intensive course like this before. I did some bits and pieces, here and there, but nothing really of this scale.

What are the main benefits of the programme?

The course is hard work, but the support and guidance you receive is fantastic. The camaraderie on the course and the chance to meet a group of other like-minded brokers was an added bonus.

However, the most valuable thing for me was how it equipped me to handle an acquisition my company was making. A large part of the course looks at change management, the ability to alter your style to suit different scenarios. The acquisition meant the team I was leading tripled in size. A significant task, made easier from what I learned on the course.

Has the programme helped you progress in your career?

Definitely. Before this course, my management style was a little autocratic and rigid. I lacked flexibility. The programme has taught me to maintain open lines of communication and helped me gain the support of my new colleagues. Most importantly, it has helped me to understand that I am only as good as my team. The opportunity to go on a structured training course has helped me become a better leader at a time when I needed it most.

What advice would you give to anyone on the programme this year or looking to apply in the future?

Since finishing the course, my career has taken a step forward. The skills I learnt through the course have allowed me to take on more responsibility with confidence. My main piece of advice to candidates is: go into it with enthusiasm and you will almost certainly benefit from it. It is hard work but, ultimately, very rewarding in what you take away.

I know others benefitted from it too. A number of us on last year’s programme have really progressed in our careers. So I would definitely encourage others to apply for next year’s programme.