The Humble Leader’s Guide for Credit Union Resilience

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There is a delicate dance of expressing gratitude this time of year. There is a stronger desire to show employees appreciation through festive cheer, gift-giving, and sugary bliss in the breakroom. But how can you go beyond surface appreciation?

Expressing thanks and showing appreciation fosters a sense of mutual respect and connection with others. However, wouldn’t you agree that gratitude should know no season? If we take a deeper look at what the holidays are all about, it’s a season of reflection and preparation of our own hearts.

Humility involves being modest, unassuming, and learning from others. It’s acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers. As you lead your credit union to finish the year strong and are diligently focused on the next 12 months, you may view humility as the least important.

And you would be wrong (that wasn’t very humble, was it?).

Humility is the soil to which all virtues grow. Here’s why:

Openness to Learn

Openness to learn in a humble context involves acknowledging that others may see and interpret the world differently. It is a call to eradicate selfishness from leadership. Use this time to grow, evolve, and refine your understanding of your credit union.

Engage with your team openly. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. By understanding the journey, challenges, and triumphs of your team members, you will uncover areas for continuous improvement and skill development. Appreciate the “how” as much as the “what” for what they do for your credit union. Do this well and you set a tone for a learning culture within the credit union.

Approachability

Have you ever stated that you have an “open door policy,” and yet no one ever seems to use it and you wonder why? Here’s why… You are placing the onus solely on the employee, which is one-sided. We know this doesn’t work in marriage or parenting, and it doesn’t work in the workplace. Second, when people hear “open door policy,” the word “policy” is right there. Policies are generally not very open, but restrictive, and your employees don’t have a sense of being heard or valued.

Approachability is reflected in your demeanor, and humility is key to demonstrating genuine interest in understanding different viewpoints. Give your full attention, show that you’re listening, avoid interrupting, and suspend judgment. By incorporating these into your communication style, you can enhance your active listening skills and build stronger connections with others.

Inspiring Trust

A humble leader is not afraid to admit when they are wrong. It demonstrates authenticity and vulnerability, creating an environment where team members feel comfortable admitting their errors and working together to find solutions. Likewise, view setbacks by others as opportunities rather than failures. By being resilient, you inspire your team to navigate challenges with a positive and solution-oriented mindset.

And, of course, recognize success at your credit union. Acknowledge effort, not just results. Emphasize that success is a result of the combined skills and dedication of the entire team. Find opportunities to praise and appreciate your staff in team meetings, public forms, or through written communications. It positions you as the best place to work.

The holidays serve as a natural pause in the year – an opportunity to look inwards, appreciate the journey, and set intentions for the future. Yes, be grateful, and use this time to be mindful and present in the moment.

Humility is a cornerstone of servant leadership.

As Vice President of Brand Experience for Your Marketing Co., Frank Allgood works with credit unions to develop strong leaders, create effective training programs, and build powerful brands. Want to connect? Call 864.326.8740 or email frank@yourmarketingco.com.

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Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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