Berger Leadership Blog

Feb 10, 2023

It’s more than business, it’s personal

Everyone knows the phrase, “it’s just business, nothing personal.” As I’ve learned through the years, this simply isn’t true. Business is personal. In an article by Donda Mullis on Fast Company, she explained that in order to be the best leader and achieve the best results, we must make business personal.

Mullis said that when she started her mission-based company, she was “obsessed with ensuring that the team was coming to work happy.” She cited a Gallup poll that found 60 percent of Americans feel disengaged and unhappy at the workplace. One of the best ways to correct that is to make business “personal” and lead with compassion, honesty, and kindness. Treat your staff as people, and they will be happier and more productive.

Another point from Mullis that warrants reflection: In order to treat staff as people, you must be a person, too. Be vulnerable and acknowledge your mistakes. Have an open door that invites feedback and collaboration, and an open mind that promotes innovation and problem-solving. Be there for your people. That’s what leadership is all about.

However, making business personal isn’t just about your relationship with your staff, it’s also about your relationship with your customers. For NAFCU and credit unions, that’s our relationships with our members. It’s important to me that I’m available for my members – to answer the phone when they call. For credit unions, there are so many ways to foster a personal relationship with members. One of the best ways is to get involved with the community. I’ve heard so many great stories from members about the work they do in their community, whether it’s scholarships, donations to charities, or even teaming up with other charities like Habitat for Humanity. If credit unions invest in their community, the community will invest in the credit union.

If you’re new to credit union volunteer leadership – or just looking for a refresher – check out our Credit Union Director Handbook. This handbook has a bunch of practical information for credit union board members, centered on our industry’s mission of putting people first.

It’s important to remember that we’re all people, and nothing can replace the personal relationships we have. As we continue to grow and innovate in 2023, we can’t forget the most important part: the people who make it all happen.

About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry.

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