I recently had the opportunity to slow down just a bit and give some thought to what I admire about several of the leaders in our credit union movement. These leaders are probably names that come to mind for many, not just me. They are change agents, advocates, high achievers, diligent laborers and likely hold countless recognitions and honors from peers and the industry. I recognized that while I do marvel at how some high-profile individuals get stuff done, my personal list of remarkable leaders contains many individuals for reasons apart from their accomplishments.
What all the folks on my list had in common, besides my respect and admiration, was very interesting to me. In no particular order, these individuals:
- Look for opportunities to be kind
- Are consummate professionals
- Maintain integrity
- Honor punctuality
- Remain honest
- Work smarter not harder and utilize technology
- Appreciate others’ great ideas
- Encourage those around them
- Understand team values and dynamics and demonstrate being a loyal team member
- Are confident yet humble, not afraid to have uncomfortable conversations
- Stay grateful for everyone in their sphere of influence – their members, customers, employees, bosses and family
- Are consistent
In my opinion these characteristics are the core tenets of what it takes to be a Committed to Change Leader.
A Committed to Change Leader is someone who intentionally looks for opportunities to perform random acts of kindness. Paying for someone’s meal, tipping the server more than the meal costs, mowing a neighbor’s yard, giving a young couple or a single mom or single dad a night off from their children.
A Committed to Change Leader is one who looks at a problem and sees the opportunity to engage others with diversity of thought, age, gender, cultural background and action. With humility, this leader connects the right people with the right superpowers – sometimes not possessed by the leader – for the right cause at the right time and creates the space for great ideas to show up and show out.
A Committed to Change Leader is one who speaks up when it appears that a group of people may be going in a direction that is not win-win for everyone. Often times people are afraid to speak up because sometimes it is easier to remain silent and not have to explain your position if it is not the popular concept. This leader steps in boldly and helps right the ship towards a favorable outcome for all.
A Committed to Change Leader is one that walks the talk. This leader will do all the things he/she is asking others to do and be all the things he/she is asking others to be. This leader models the behavior and the results they seek to see in others. Sometimes that means self-reflection, changing old habits, and learning new technology and techniques.
A Committed to Change Leader has the respect of those they know and those they have yet to meet or may never meet. This leader’s actions have impacted, impressed or ignited someone in a personal, meaningful and likely unforgettable way, which the leader may never know. That is because a Committed to Change Leader knows it is not about them. Instead, it is about creating pathways for others to succeed.
Being a Committed to Change Leader does not happen overnight. It takes intentionality, persistence and most importantly, and at times the most challenging – introspection. It starts with self.
As a leader, ask yourself how are you showing up? Do you demonstrate these 12 Committed to Change Leadership values? More importantly, would others around you – those who work alongside you or report to you – say that you do? What examples are they able to point to? How might you be able to incorporate one of these concepts among your sphere of influence?
The need for Committed to Change Leaders is greater now more than ever. As workplace dynamics shift, as generations change in the workplace, as technology advances, and as our credit union members’ needs evolve, true leaders who embody the 12 characteristics I stated earlier will be the ones who are able to withstand our ever-changing world. And not just withstand it, they will be able to influence the next generation of Committed to Change Leaders, where these values become the norm and not the exception, so the greater good can reap the benefits of these remarkable leaders.