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Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? What if your fairness as a leader was the quality being measured instead of beauty? Leadership is always a challenge and our own least desired qualities are the hardest to face.

Do you find certain employees more difficult to deal with than others? Perhaps there is one employee or a handful that you find absolutely frustrating! It is a common problem, but what we often fail to see is that the shortcomings of these employees may be reflected in ourselves. What we dislike the most in other people is often the very same thing that we dislike about ourselves. That mirror is not always flattering. This enchanted mirror effect is what creates your frustration. Only 15% of people are truly self-aware. The rest of us are lying to ourselves on a daily basis.

What can we learn from this hard-to-face truth? How to be a better leader. Leadership is often best won through example. I pose the challenge to each of you. Take your most frustrating employees. Make a list of what behaviors are causing the frustration. Take a hard look at your own behaviors and see if there are any correlations. You have to be honest during the process to make it work. I promise it will be worth the effort.

Now for the hard part my friends, create a set of changes that you can make to effectively demonstrate the behaviors that you would like to see from your staff. Check in with yourself weekly to see if you were able to achieve these goals and course correct for the following week.

Set the bar high. The only way to grow is by expecting a better result, adjust the quote from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from dreams to goals and you find that “If your goals do not scare you, they are not big enough”. We only grow by expecting more from ourselves and our staff.

We often hear the phrase “We provide better service.” Is that really true? Change, from leadership all the way down to front line, can make an impact in your member experience. The competition is fierce and if you want to hang your hat on service, you better well mean it.

This is not a single one and done experience. The next step is accountability. If there are no consequences or rewards, the effort often fizzles quickly. Designate check-in meetings for progress with each of the employees you are working to grow and set check-in meetings with yourself. Practice makes progress (not perfection).

Recognize progress. I cannot stress this enough. Humans thrive on feedback. You may think that no course correction reinforces good behavior, but that assumption can be detrimental. A quick show of approval can go a long way, especially with an employee that is struggling.

What does this have to do with marketing? Nothing and absolutely everything. A credit union is like a human body. All of our reactions or interactions start with the head, or head of the organization. Your leadership directly affects your leaders and every employee. The behaviors we display often correlate with how the member truly experiences your brand.

I can tell you, it is not easy. No one will ever be perfect, but as our President of YMC often says, “you are either green and growing or ripe and rotting”.

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