Gender-based perceptions of empowerment, development and access at credit unions

The differences between the responses of men and women may surprise you.

There are forces at play keeping your organization from reaching its peak effectiveness. These forces have roots deeper than your previous CEO’s leadership style and are more profound than any strategic decision your leadership team has made in the organization’s history. These forces, as powerful as they are, cannot simply be changed by a stroke of the pen or an act of Congress.

Female and male credit union leaders have different perspectives on power and influence within their organizations. The gender-specific responses to these variables vary so much that they impact their perception of their access to resources, career advancement, impact on the organization and engagement. And as the adage goes, “Perception is reality.”

The data from a survey from CUESolutions provider and Advancing Women sponsor DDJ Myers that I’ll present in this article should cause all of us to straighten in our chairs and dive deeper into what’s going on—both in general and in our particular organizations. Please let go of preconceived notions, biases or, dare I say, political platforms. This is not that. These are your peers and even your executives speaking to you. Please, take a moment and listen.

About the Survey

It is important to note that libraries are full of gender-based research that credit union leaders can garner important insights from. The research I’ll describe here is based on nine recent DDJ Myers credit union clients, averaging $1.3 billion in assets, making up a total population of 251 executive- to mid-level talent respondents. These 143 self-identified women and men responded to a variety of statements using an agreement-based Likert scale as part of DDJ Myers’ Organization Alignment Assessment, an instrument that is a part of our strategy development, CEO succession and search, and executive-level training programs. Although providing insight into how various genders perceive and contribute to the organization is not the primary way our clients make use of this instrument, it is an important lens by which to broaden our leadership perspective.


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