Agency Performance Partners


What To Do About Personal Drama In An Agency – Boundaries

Posted on May 23, 2022 by Alex Arellano

What To Do About Personal Drama In An Agency – Boundaries

In an agency, it’s definitely a great feeling when your staff is comfortable at work. You know when someone’s daughter starts pre-school, you have everyone’s birthday on the calendar, and you get to connect with each other on a deeper level, outside of just work. But there is a dark side to this sort of free-flowing information in an insurance agency: when someone brings their personal life, and their personal drama, into your agency.

“The bottom line is it cannot impact our work. And there does need to be some boundaries, especially with leadership”

We see this in many different variations in our insurance agency work environments. Maybe we’re learning causal bits of information about each other, or on the other hand, we might be witnessing while someone goes through something quite significant or severe, such as a divorce, custody case, or other intense life event. 

The question is: how does a personal drama in an insurance agency impact the business? In order to make sure it doesn’t actually impact business, we have to set some boundaries around these types of communication.

We Are All Humans 

It’s important to of course recognize that we are all indeed humans, and we all go through things at one point or another. Some people are more private, but other people view work and work relationships as personal relationships, even as a family in some instances. 

While this is fine, and it’s really up to everyone’s personal preference, the bottom line is that personal drama and life events cannot impact our work. And there definitely needs to be some boundaries, especially when it comes to leadership, with some of the discussions that are being had.

It’s a fine line: we want people to feel connected to the workplace, feel happy to be there, and feel safe and comfortable. But it ultimately cannot come before the work itself.

The Divorce Example

Let’s talk about some examples of this. Let’s say someone at your agency is going through a divorce, and they’re on the phone all day with their divorce attorney. While this is obviously an unpleasant situation, the fact of the matter is that this is happening during work hours, which isn’t acceptable. There are breaks during the day, and lunch hours that could be used for this instead. 

That person isn’t only taking away time from their own work day. They’re ultimately distracting a lot of the team as well, because as we all know, everyone in the surrounding area can hear the drama.

The solution for this situation is very simple. Conversations around this personal issue need to happen during lunch hours and breaks, not just randomly throughout the day. These calls should not take up work hours, because ultimately, they also get that person riled up and distracted. 

Plus, if a person is addressing personal issues like this during the day, it’s almost a guarantee that their work is suffering.

Where Do We Go From Here?

When we as leaders see this happening in our insurance agency, what exactly do we do about this? If you’re a leader or a manager, and you feel like more of a therapist than that leader, it’s time to set some boundaries.

If someone is coming into your office and you can see it all over their face, you can let them know that, “Hey, I only have a few moments. What can I help you with in relation to your clients?”

That is a quick way to set up your boundaries.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that if you are in a leadership position, maybe there are just some things that you shouldn’t know. Maybe there are some personal matters that simply don’t belong in the workplace. 

Maybe they belong more at happy hour, or over coffee with a friend.

If you feel this is the case, you need to speak up, and say something like:

“My role is to be your leader in regards to insurance. I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this, but I’m not sure I’m the right person to discuss this with you.”

The reality is, this person might need to speak more with a good friend, a family member, a spiritual leader, or a therapist. And they need to keep business where it needs to be, which is in the business.

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Out

You might find yourself already square in the middle of some of these sticky situations at work, and it can feel overwhelming to get out of them. 

But honestly, a lot of the time, it’s more overwhelming to stay in them.

Our advice? Sit down and call a meeting with your agent who you feel this way with. Say to them:

“I know you’re going through a lot, but I think we need to identify just some healthy course of action for our roles here at the agency. We need you to focus on your personal life during your breaks and off hours and focus on work here. So while I’ve been a listening ear, at this point I think that more than anything it’s time to find some other outlets and for us to remain having a working relationship.”

Nipping this sort of situation in the bud can be a huge relief. You’d be amazed by how much of your time can get wasted on personal matters inside of an agency, and that’s definitely not what you want your life to look like.

The best advice we ever got about this matter, and that you can share with your people, is to leave personal matters at the agency door, because you probably need the break too from them.

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