NAFCU Services Blog

Aug 18, 2014 by Peter

Developing the Next Leaders Within Your Credit Union

By Peter Myers, MSC, PCC, Vice President, DDJ Myers

If I told you that you could handpick a group of leaders who would be perfectly invested in your credit union, would you jump at the chance? Now what if I told you these potential leaders may be individuals who you already interact with every day? Of course, I’m talking about looking within your own organization and identifying emerging leaders from your staff, and then providing them the training to transform into leaders and thinkers who exceed expectations for both you and your members.

Who Is an Emerging Leader in Your Credit Union?

To identify emerging leaders within your ranks, I encourage you to cast a wide net and look beyond obvious candidates such as vice presidents and other upper management. Perhaps there’s a team leader, a department manager, or a teller supervisor who has shown leadership potential by delivering excellent member service or proactively helping on team projects. By paying close attention and identifying those employees who put your credit union values into action, you may be surprised at how many of your staff have the potential to exceed expectations and grow into leadership roles.

Is Training Your Leaders Worth the Investment?

As you consider how much time and money you want to invest in leadership training, be sure to think beyond the investment of simply training the individual. You are also investing in team and organizational levels and shaping the culture of your workplace.

It is also an indispensable exercise to look at your strategic plan and your talent development to see how they align, not just for today, but down the line over the next several years. Then ask yourself if you are developing your talent to suit those needs.

How Do You Develop Your Leaders?

After you’ve determined that leadership training is, in fact, worth the investment, your next step is looking at where you want to focus your training. Here are four concepts to consider.

1.       Cultivating an Executive Presence

Have you ever met someone and immediately thought, I would follow this person wherever he or she leads me? Developing leaders who are seen as present, open, and connected goes a long way in team building, as do leaders who have the ability to understand and manage their moods, and to tie in to the vision of others.

2.       Applied Effective Communication

Unlocking the potential of language and listening is connected to effective action. You want leaders who have a vision that is “out there,” but not so far out there that it seems impossible. And it’s not just about generating enthusiasm, but also having the ability to create clear, articulate requests and offers. With effective communication leaders are able to consistently and cohesively move the organization forward.

3.       Increased Learning Capacity

An in-depth look at how leaders learn, and conversely how they do not learn, is very useful. There is a link between learning and accountability which compels leaders to fulfill expectations because they are aligned with the organization’s commitment.

4.       People Helping People

A credit union fundamental principle, this area is an exploration of social responsibility. It is also important to distinguish between individual and corporate responsibility and the blending of both. Effective leaders ask, what are the talents and gifts that I can bring to the workplace and how can I hold myself responsible to the broader community, not just my own team or project.

These are just a few of the areas that emerging leaders can explore in training. I hope you will consider the positive impact that training can have on your leaders, your organization, and your community of members.


  • Everyone has a capacity to lead in some way. Think beyond the obvious candidates.
  • A leadership culture is beneficial to all employees within your credit union, not just the leaders.
  • Developing emerging leaders within your organization will also make you a better leader.
  • Transformative change at an individual level, a team level, and an organizational level.
  • Exposure to different leadership styles.

Gain an understanding of how culture is intimately linked to an organization

Peter shares much more on training emerging leaders, including the seven areas of focus, during his recent webcast.

DDJ Myers is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Leadership Training, Executive Search, and Recruitment Services. More educational content and contact information are available at

Also available: Creating Sustainable Leadership in Emerging Leaders (Webcast)

About the Author