Originally posted on CUinsight.com. Written by Chris O'Connor, President/CEO, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union.
I’ve been a part of my credit union, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union in Texas, for 28 years. In that time, I’ve risen through the ranks and learned a lot of leadership lessons – the kind you have to experience personally and can’t just study from the sidelines.
However, not every lesson has to come from your own mistakes! The challenges and accomplishments of others can do a lot to point you in the right direction in your career. I’ve learned so much about leadership from my mentors and predecessors at Randolph-Brooks as well as from my staff members.
Staff members in every department at a credit union see a different aspect of the credit union experience. What I see in the C-Suite is not what my lending or compliance staff sees. We can all benefit from the wisdom of others’ experiences – and our credit union will be stronger if each department joins in leading the way forward.
It’s also important to recognize leadership lessons from outside your organization. The credit union experience is vast, and no two credit unions are the same. Randolph-Brooks has learned unique lessons as it has evolved from serving only military servicemembers at Randolph and Brooks Air Force Bases to serving hundreds of thousands of members across Texas. As much as our history has taught us, we still have much to learn.
That’s why I value Randolph-Brooks’ history of sending managers and burgeoning leaders to NAFCU’s Management and Leadership Institute. For the past 20 years, we’ve sent employees to the Management and Leadership Institute (MLI) to learn from the country’s most successful CEOs and experts. That learning, coupled with the opportunity to network with credit union leaders from across the country, has proved invaluable in developing leadership potential.
The conference offers our managers and staff a broader perspective on how credit unions operate. By working on group projects with other professionals using real-world case studies, conference attendees don’t just discuss leadership strategies in an academic way, but they also see how they might be put into practice.
MLI is special because it offers a personal experience that larger conferences may not offer. Randolph-Brooks’ MLI attendees always come back feeling like they were challenged to consider their unique strengths and challenges – and to work on goals that make sense for their career path. It’s a rewarding experience that has proven unforgettable for the many employees we have sent over the years.
Anyone can be a leader – and we all have different strengths to offer. MLI is the perfect opportunity to help develop your leadership strengths and discover what more you have to offer. I hope you’ll consider taking the time to consider your own potential as a leader this October in San Diego at the next Management and Leadership Institute.