Want to be a great leader? Find the right master

There’s nothing more important to your development as a CU leader than to find good mentors. One of the key strategies I teach for aspiring and emerging leaders:

“Find the right Master.”

Already an established CU leader?  There ‘ s nothing more important to the continued success of your organization than to identify and mentor your next generation of aspiring leaders––and the time to do this is now.

Just a few days ago I had the honor of speaking at the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions 60th Annual Convention in V a radero, Cuba. Participants came from all over the Caribbean islands.

In our Aspiring Leaders workshop, I met a man who was anything but new to leadership and to CU service. This man so impressed me that I altered the open to my closing keynote the next day.

I asked, “Have you met William Guadeloupe?”

William is now the treasurer of the Antilles Employees Credit Union of Trinidad & Tobago, but that was not his first position with that CU . William was their third president serving from 1954 to 1976. William is now 86 years old and he started his CU service at age 19. This means he was a CU president at 24 and has served his credit union continually for nearly 70 years.

As remarkable as Mr. Guadeloupe’s resume is, it is n’ t why I’m sharing him with you. As I said, I started the closing keynote by asking the attendees if they’d met him. Then I added:

“If not––you should!”

You see, as part of our Aspiring Leaders workshop we include a special version of our Sensei Leader pre-event assessment. Two of the items focus specifically on mentoring. The results from the Caribbean group were typical.

The first item is:

“It’s important to my development as a leader to find and work with a good mentor.”

100% of the responses were “agree” and “strongly agree.”

The next item reads:

“I am currently working with a mentor.”

75% said––no.

As I said, these results are typical.  This is why I wanted people to meet William — and why I wanted to introduce him to you.

William Guadeloupe is the leader we should all aspire to be. In the short time I spent with him , it was obvious that he is the type of leader any of us would be blessed to have as a mentor. He is a compassionate person who truly cares. He is completely focused on serving the people who trust in his leadership. And like many CU leaders, his contributions extend to his community where he continues to serve numerous civic boards and organizations, including those supporting his passion for cricket.

Most of all, William radiates a blindingly bright aura of enthusiasm for the mission of the credit union. He is just as excited about the work of the CU today as he was when he started––perhaps even more so.

Our surveys prove a nearly universal belief that working with a compassionate, wise and experienced mentor is a major factor in the success of any leader.

Unfortunately, those surveys also show that many people do not currently have a relationship with a mentor. I can tell you from experience that even fewer current leaders are actively mentoring a protégé at any given time.

It is not difficult to “find the right Master.” All you need to do is ask.

As amazing as William Guadeloupe is––and I’ll clearly state he’s one of the most remarkable leaders I’ve ever met, I meet leaders like William every time I work with a CU group.

The CU world is full of great leaders who are willing mentors. The difficult part is pairing these mentors with the folks who need their guidance.

I’m going to challenge you to do three things:

I f you aspire to expand your leadership potential––at any level––and you are not currently working with a mentor, find one.


If you are an experienced leader and you are not currently mentoring someone, find someone who would benefit from your wisdom and experience and offer your services.


And finally, if you don’t already have one in place, establish a formal mentoring program in your organization. This doesn’t need to be complex. It can be as simple as a forum or even a good old-fashioned bulletin board where mentors and protégés can meet but don’t leave this to chance.

Developing mentoring skills is a need widely identified by CEOs and other leaders in recent studies.  If you need assistance improving these skills in your CU, reach out. I can help. Teaching and mentoring is the very heart of “Sensei Leadership.”

Finally, if you really want to meet someone who exemplifies everything a Sensei Leader and a great mentor should be, find a way to meet William Guadeloupe. He is one of those rare people who can transform your life in just a few moments.

He most certainly changed mine––and I am grateful!

Jim Bouchard

Jim Bouchard

Jim Bouchard is an internationally recognized speaker, Leadership Activist, and founder of The SENSEI LEADER Movement™. He’s the author of 8 leadership books, and hosts Walking The Walk, a ... Web: www.armstrongspeakers.com Details