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Greatness, Not Just Goodness Needed in New Age Credit Union Leaders
Thursday, July 31, 2014 6:45 AM

With all the recent events unfolding in the American business, economic and political sector, perhaps the most concerning isn’t so much the competency of leadership, but rather its values and ethics. The economic and social inequality in America is being blamed by the greed of corporate leadership and lack of social responsibility, according to John Vardallas, CUDE, chief evaluator and senior faculty strategist with Southwest CUNA Management School.

“What makes leadership has always sparked interesting discussion. Are leaders born with innate qualities or can effective leadership be taught and learned? This is a very important business issue since recent American employee surveys indicate that half of workers are unhappy because of ‘not being valued’ due to weak and apathetic organizational leadership,” says Vardallas.

Are you as good a leader as you think you are? Are you perceived as great or just good? How would your people rate you on some of the following traits or characteristics of effective CEOs:

  • A powerful business and people acumen
  • An embracing of diversity
  • The ability to inspire (not motivate) people to achieve
  • A clear vision of seeing the possibilities and the preferred future for their organization
  • The ability to build partnerships and alliances
  • Being servant leaders to their /members/customers/community
  • A curiosity about the world and a facilitator of change
  • Leading more by actions than words
  • The ability to utilize technology to achieve business results
  • A risk taker who doesn’t fear innovation or failure
  • The ability to convert the learning of ideas into practice
  • Take time to Recognize/Reward your people
  • The willingness to hire to your weakness
  • The ability to develop goals and execute plans
  • Be a developer of people-- A “Human Horticulturalist”
  •  And Great Leaders “Eat Last”! Put your people before yourself

Vardallas offer the following action steps to inspire you to strive for greatness not just goodness in your leadership practices for your credit union:

1) Have a Purpose & Passion before Profit business philosophy in what you do for your organization staff, board, members, vendors and the community.

2) Get the Right Folks in the Right Seats on your Credit Union Organization Bus and give them a license to pursue their passion in serving members.

3) Greatness knows that Embracing Innovation is not an option and great leaders know that if you are not changing you are dying.

4) Get MAD: Make A Difference in your personal & professional life of those you lead and who you serve!

“Great, not just good effective leadership will be one of the key factors of how the success of credit unions will be measured in the future,” adds Vardallas. “And how current leaders set a standard to follow and having the will to follow it may be their most important legacy.”