Navigating the challenges of authentic leadership

Have you ever heard that authenticity is everything? As credit union leaders, we are called to be principled, transparent, and tackle issues head-on with high levels of integrity. Yet there are societal expectations, personal barriers, and organizational dynamics that often challenge our authenticity.

In most credit union cultures, there is an unspoken emphasis on uniformity rather than individuality. A leader who dares to veer too far from the norm is often treated with suspicion. In the name of “professionalism,” leaders may likewise feel compelled to mask their emotional states, pretending to be someone or something they are not. Leading from a distance is impossible because it gives a leader an excuse not to engage.

Inside our credit unions, the demand for immediate results can force us to pursue short-term wins over long-term, value-based goals. These short-term performance pressures can derail us from being our authentic selves. As much as we want to be authentic leaders, how does the fear of rejection, aversion to risks, pressures to conform, and inconsistent values and actions challenge us to lead authentically?

And here comes the body blow: Exhibiting authentic leadership is reflective of how you inspire, motivate, and guide your followers.


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