By Robin Kolvek
As the credit union industry experiences record-setting growth and continues to absorb more of the leading company market share, competition is as fierce as ever – both in terms of securing new clients and recruiting talented employees.
For an organization to stand out in the competitive credit union field, it takes a strong leader who can deftly manage the various institutional challenges a company is likely to face both externally and internally while simultaneously thinking ahead to capitalize on new opportunities.
Throughout my years of leadership in the credit union and financial services industry, I’ve identified four traits that shape a true credit union leader. Those who are consistently able to motivate, unite, attract and create opportunities across every aspect of their credit union, give themselves and team members a substantial advantage over the competition.
While you may first think about how this applies to motivating your team, it’s important to first look inward and motivate yourself. True credit union leaders continually set goals for themselves and remain determined to reach those goals in a never-ending quest for self-improvement. Only then can they truly be a motivating force in their organization. Teams look up to and embody the traits of their leader, and if they see how motivated their leader is each day, they are likely to follow suit.
To effectively motivate your employees, you must first unite them under a single cause. That begins with shaping a credit union vision and mission that is both exciting and challenging for the entire organization. Whether it’s set on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, teams that are all striving towards the same organizational goal are more likely to feel a sense of fulfillment when the goal is achieved, especially if they are recognized and rewarded for their hard work.
A motivated and united team all operating towards the same outcome already makes for an attractive work culture for new recruits. The leader of the credit union is then tasked with effectively communicating the company culture to potential new team members as well as describing how they can immediately add value. True leaders never settle for the status quo. Rather, they are always learning and looking for how they can improve or grow their institutions future.
Given the rate at which technology is evolving and continuing to shape the credit union industry, a strong leader needs to be able to stay ahead of the curve by continually innovating to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities. Additionally, they need to be able to create new opportunities internally for their team to learn, grow and gain valuable career experience. A leader trusts their team to take on new responsibilities and expands their skillsets without micromanaging their day-to-day duties.
In order to compete in the 21stCentury, credit unions must continue empowering leaders with the autonomy to guide their institutions and employees to new heights. Credit unions have to establish environments that cultivate leaders who can motivate, unite, attract and create.
Robin Kolvek is CEO at EPL, Inc. For info: www.eplinc.com.