Is your leadership going off the rails?
There is a lot going on in the world and at our organizations. In crisis mode, it can be easy to take up bad habits as we push to get things done and survive. But no matter what challenges and distractions we're facing, executives must stay committed to leading the right way.
While each of us have unique traits that make us the right fit for our organizations, there are some guiding principles that make great leaders. In a recent blog post, leadership strategist John Thurlbeck outlines questions for leaders to utilize when considering whether they have gone off the rails.
- Are you leading with humility? We worked hard to get to this point in our careers, but don't let your ego interfere with your leadership during these challenging times. Remember, there's a difference between confidence and arrogance. It's important to acknowledge that you can't do everything yourself. Great leaders seek out advice and feedback from their peers and teams to address problems, and trust that employees have the skills and knowledge to get things done. Here are a few ways to ensure you're practicing humility.
- Are you leading with your character? I'm a firm believer in practicing servant leadership. This style of leadership emphasizes doing right by your employees. You do that by building trust – and keeping it – leading with integrity, showing empathy and understanding during difficult times, and motivating them to reach greater heights. Employees who feel valued will be more engaged and committed to your mission.
- Are you focused on personal and professional development? One of my recent blog posts highlighted key advice from Warren Buffett, which includes "going to bed a little smarter each day." Even when we feel like there isn't enough time in the day to get our tasks done, leaders must prioritize personal and professional development. It's also important that you continue to encourage your employees to do the same. Right now is a great time to take advantage of virtual conferences and trainings that have lower registration costs and no travel required.
- Why change even when you are the best at what you do? Reacting to change is different from bringing about change. While some people live by the mantra "If it's not broke don't fix it," leaders can't afford to have this mindset if you want to stay viable and competitive. Innovation is key, especially when operating environments are changing quickly. As you review your strategy for moving forward, here are some key points to consider.
- Do you want to retain your competitive advantage? Challenges present new opportunities, and this year has been full of them. A strong leader has used this time to analyze their business model to see how members'/customers' needs have changed and whether their organization's products and services are still meeting them. If not, embrace the need for change and adapt accordingly.
Leaders become great leaders because they are consistent. So even during times of uncertainty and volatility, staying consistent in your leadership and being intentional about practicing these traits Thurlbeck has outlined will keep you on track.
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About the Author
B. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry. Since becoming president and CEO in 2013, Berger, who is also an author, economist, and one of Washington's top lobbyists, is credited with bringing national attention to key policy issues, while ensuring NAFCU's members meet policymakers at the highest levels of government.