This week ProRisk
business development manager Peter Marsh
all discussed whether people skills are more important that technical skills or vice versa. He wrote, in an opinion piece, that both are equally important.
This sparked conversation among readers who also weighed up both sides of the story, however one commentator stood out, drawing on his own personal experience of becoming a technical expert first and then learning people skills. This week’s winner Robert Cooper explained the challenges of learning people skills and why, despite the obstacles, it is still important.
“I totally agree that a combination of technical knowledge and people skills does make you a great insurance professional, whether as a broker, underwriter or business development manager. In recent times employers have chosen not to develop various staff perceived weaknesses and instead slot them into their areas of strength and just leave them there.
“I myself started off very much as a technical expert. It was easy to do by yourself, you simply studied and gained knowledge by experience, but people skills were another thing. I had to learn these the hard way and anyone that knows me will know how much difficulty I had doing so. It was trial and error constantly. Patient people guided me, and I learnt a lot more about myself. I wish there had been a lot more in this area early in my career. I am still learning but so am I constantly in the technical area. I think some employers believe you are born with them and that is it.
“We all have a duty to develop the best insurance professionals we can and that means a combination of technical skills and people skills. It results [in] us all enjoying and being more proud of our profession as a result.
“I was told a very long time ago that insurance is a relationship business. To form good relationships means being reliable, credible and trustworthy with your knowledge and how it is then delivered. It goes hand in hand.
“So if you can see a weakness in either area, for the sake of us all, work on making it a strength.”
Thank you to all commentators this week.