If you’re leading a busy wholesale insurance office, you not only have to keep yourself inspired—you have to manage your team, and encourage them to do their best work. Here are a few tips for being an outstanding boss—and getting the most from your employees.

Be very clear. Make sure your employees have an accurate set of expectations from you. If you’re not sure how well you communicate, take the simple step of listening more than you talk—and be proactive about keeping your channels of communication open.

Know the strengths of individuals. Everyone is different—and chances are you hired each person on the team for different reasons; even to compliment each other. Know your team’s strengths and let that inform how you assign tasks and responsibilities. Celebrate the unique contributions each team member makes to your larger effort.

Know what motivates each team member. Some people are motivated by money; others want a new job title and a corner office, while some want to work from home or maintain a better work-life balance. Know what motivates your employees—whether it’s money, praise, more responsibility, or a chance to work from home once a week—and help them figure out a plan to get what they want while working for you. Do this, and you’ll generate tremendous employee loyalty.

Make sure your employees know how they are doing. Don’t let your employees know how they are performing only once a year during a formal review. Keep them in the loop—if they’re struggling, make sure they get the help they need, and if they’re doing a great job, make sure they know it. That way, employees can improve and stay motivated throughout the year—and their performance reviews won’t be a surprise.

Know how each person likes to work. No one likes to be managed the same way. Most people will say they dislike micromanaging, but one person’s “micromanaging” may be another person’s “supportive and engaged.” Sit down with each employee and ask them how they prefer to be managed. Then build these processes into how you communicate with them, reward them, and bring it up when something is going wrong.

Managing employees is a skillset completely separate from other aspects of wholesale insurance. Keep the lines of communication open, and bear in mind that everyone is different—in what motivates them, in how they like to be managed, and in their strengths and weaknesses. If you do, you’ll be an outstanding boss.

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