Developing Credit Union Leaders
Who inspires? Who persuades? Who brings energy, innovation and renewed hope everywhere they go? Leaders are the driving force of your credit union and you want them fully equipped to continually bring spark, spirit and synergy.
Credit union leaders are talented individuals, but it's vital to keep their strengths through ongoing development programs.
The Importance of Leadership in Credit Unions
Effective leaders play a pivotal role in uniting credit unions and driving them toward success. Credit unions possess a distinct structure in which members are also owners, fostering a deeply personal connection within the union. Consequently, leaders are required to possess both financial insight acumen and strong social skills to navigate this unique landscape successfully.
A credit union without strong leaders is likely to stagnate or dissolve. It's essential to know how to develop leaders to ensure the best for all members and the longevity of your credit union.
What Makes an Effective Leader?
The fantastic part of leadership is that every person at the forefront has unique characteristics that add value to the team. But there are common traits that leaders share:
- Knowledge and expertise: Credit unions remove the need to deal with a nameless entity regarding your finances. Still, the personal element doesn't eliminate the desire for members to know their finances are in capable hands. All employees and members want to rest assured that leaders have superior industry knowledge, financial acumen and expertise in their specific roles. Leaders go above and beyond to stay updated with policies, market trends and continued training.
- Innovation, curiosity and courage: Leaders naturally tend toward innovation and the courage it takes to implement new ideas and processes.
- Respect and trustworthiness: People need to know that their financial advisors are trustworthy. Members seek a leader who cares for their investments and handles transactions with integrity. Your leaders will earn respect when they gain the trust of your team and members.
- Discernment and decisiveness: Leadership sometimes requires making tough calls. Your credit union's leaders should display discernment and decisiveness, as these qualities can lead to positive outcomes.
- Confidence and self-awareness: Your employees can only believe in your leaders if those leaders believe in themselves! Good leaders have confidence that inspires the best in people. They also have the self-awareness to know how to present themselves and how to interact with different members and their unique needs.
- Empathy, humility and gratitude: Good credit unions embody the principles of “people helping people.” Credit unions are truly member-centric, so leaders should display emotional intelligence in their work and interactions with members.
- Communication: Effective communicators make influential leaders! An open and healthy line of communication is vital between all members and leaders should model that by example.
How to Develop Leaders in Your Credit Union
There are practical ways to develop your credit union's leaders now that you know the characteristics they should exhibit. You can encourage an environment of growth and continued learning by implementing ways to mentor and train your leaders.
Mentorship is a good way of fostering leadership within your credit union. Mentorship programs are a resourceful and cost-effective way of imparting knowledge, goals and expectations to budding leaders. Mentoring also bridges potential gaps between employees and leadership by establishing relationships that marry different aspects of your union.
Mentoring fosters an environment in which employees can share member-facing issues more effectively. This same environment also gives employees insight into the how and why behind your credit union's policies and methodologies. And most of all, mentoring is a hands-on approach to developing your leaders. The team learns first-hand the particular scenarios your credit union faces, the unique values leaders possess and the vision each member has.
Creating new opportunities for your leaders goes hand in hand with mentorship. A vast world of new experiences and opportunities opens for members under good mentorship. Plus, every new opportunity you provide for your team is a learning opportunity. You can create new experiences that are efficient and cost-effective by delegating to emerging leaders.
Delegating gives your leaders the chance to understand all facets of the union. You can create opportunities for your team to improve their financial literacy through a workshop or a presentation with leading experts. Or you could have members lean into member support by giving them a chance to respond on your credit union's live chat, email and social media forums.
You can give potential leaders a deeper look into your credit union's admin or create opportunities to showcase their organizational expertise or social skills. The landscape for new opportunities is truly limitless! Placing a positive emphasis on unique experiences keeps your team encouraged and motivated.
Connection to the Mission
An excellent way of developing strong leaders is to genuinely press into the ethos of “People Helping People.” Potential leaders will dig deep to understand the history of credit unions and their mission. From there they can better understand and connect to your credit union's values and members. And see that it goes beyond credit and extends into the community. Leaders will know that shared interests become shared values and show dedication and enthusiasm for understanding what members need and want. And leaders who master the heart of “People Helping People” are a powerful driving force for your credit union.
Leadership Development Programs
Leadership development programs give your team a clear and intentional way to hone their skills. ServiStar Consulting has designed leadership programs that develop excellence and show you how to create leaders in your credit union.
Your leaders gain valuable skills by completing development programs and your credit union benefits, too:
- Increased revenue: Trained leaders are better equipped to engage with and serve your members. This leads to a stellar member experience that can reflect in increased investments and higher revenue.
- Greater skills: Training programs zoom in on the expertise leaders desire to make your team as efficient as possible.
- Increased job satisfaction and employee retention: You can show your team their value and want to invest in them through leadership programs. Your team will show increased job satisfaction when they feel appreciated and this naturally leads to higher employee retention.
- Healthy relationships and positive culture: Your credit union will thrive when your team and your members believe they are part of a positive culture that cultivates healthy relationships. ServiStar Consulting's leadership development programs give your team the skills to encourage these values actively.
Networking opportunities are an excellent way for employees to stay connected with company and industry leaders. Social events allow each employee to show their unique part in knitting the team together. Also, pay attention to the role online events play for employees who cannot join in person but still want to be part of leadership development programs. Events foster relationships across the credit union industry — the foundation of a strong credit union movement.
Leaders Flourish With ServiStar Consulting
At ServiStar Consulting, we believe in inspiring transformational change but also understand the need for practical ways for your members to grow. We provide leadership development training that promotes your success and places value on those aspiring leaders in your team. Our training also integrates skills so your team can link expectations to results.
We offer two excellent modules. Vertex emphasizes skills for existing leaders including team building practices, strategic thinking and effective delating skills. Emerging Leaders foster growth through coaching and mentoring, developing higher emotional intelligence, managing change and other vital aspects.