Credit Union Missional Leadership: Healthy Introspection

by. Michael Neill

This is our last “missional Monday.” I have enjoyed the opportunity to expand on this topic that I first introduced at CUES Symposium: A CEO/Chairman Exchange in February. I hope you have enjoyed the material as much as I have enjoyed sharing it. Additionally, thanks for the tremendous response to both my presentation and these follow-up “Missional Monday” blog posts. Your encouraging comments and the large volume of traffic for each of my blog posts is very humbling.

I saved the most difficult of our topics for last. Missional leaders are introspective. I don’t think introspection can be taught, but people can develop it in themselves. I believe healthy introspection is one of the most important characteristics of leadership, one that is rarely mentioned. I’ll define introspection as making the effort to perceive your words and actions as others perceive them.

Tactless jerks are basically people with very little introspection. They believe if they say their version of the truth, the loudest, the longest and in the most public forum, they are more truthful. They almost think of themselves as martyrs: “They can all be mad at me if they want, but someone has to say the truth.” Hey Sparky, how about you tell someone what you think, qualify it as such, and do so in a civil manner, privately? How hard is that to grasp?

I recall a CEO in one of my planning meetings throwing a balled up piece of paper at an employee who responded to my request to share their concerns about sales culture. The CEO yelled, “That’s the stupidest comment I ever heard,” and whipped the paper ball at the manager. Tears welled up in her eyes, responding to the humiliation. The CEO found nothing wrong with his behavior. “If you say stupid stuff out loud, don’t expect me to respond well,” was his perspective.

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