I need to start this by saying that I have a deep and personal appreciation for credit unions, having had several opportunities to interact with them over the years. As a long-time credit union member, I am always impressed by the ease and convenience of doing business. As a former marketing analyst at a major credit union in my state, I was impressed by their commitment to serving their members and their focus on community development. As a leaderologist with GrassFire Industries, I have worked with many credit union workers on various leadership initiatives and at all levels. Additionally, my doctoral research included a statistical analysis of credit union employees across Kansas. The participants were fantastic and quite helpful, further reinforcing my admiration for the industry and its dedicated professionals.
All this to say that I have seen credit unions from more angles than most. Yet, my appreciation has only grown by doing so. Now, here we are, facing some hard times. I saw an article on CUInsight talking about some of the many struggles that credit unions might experience in the coming years. Of course, other outlets echo the same. I want to see credit unions survive the coming economic upheaval. In that, I will say that credit unions are great candidates for professional leadership development. I have seen it work to great effect and on numerous occasions. Let me explain why.
Credit unions strongly focus on their local community and its members, driven by a vision to provide financial services that meet their needs. Professional leadership development can help credit union leaders better understand their members and the community and make informed decisions that align with their vision and values. Credit unions have a collaborative culture that encourages teamwork and cooperation. Professional leadership development can enhance communication and interpersonal skills, which are essential for building solid relationships with team members and members.
Between tight labor markets, the potential for a recession, robotics, artificial intelligence, etc., it is safe to say that the current business climate is a little less than stable. The financial services industry is constantly changing, and credit unions must be adaptable to remain competitive. Professional leadership development can help leaders identify and respond to new trends, technologies, and regulations and develop strategies to keep their credit unions relevant and competitive.
Credit unions rely on their employees to provide high-quality financial services. Professional leadership development can help leaders create a positive work environment that supports and motivates employees, leading to higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates, ultimately saving time and money invested by members. Arguably the most important, professional leadership development also helps leaders develop critical thinking and decision-making skills, which are essential for leading their credit union effectively and improving financial performance.
I could go on. Of course, there are a lot of reasons why professional leadership development works. At the very least, professional leadership development can help credit unions identify and eliminate inefficiencies, leading to lower costs. Frankly, these tactics will be essential in the coming months and years.
While some credit unions may be reluctant to invest in professional development, my research has demonstrated its positive long-term impact. It seems odd to do it, but I will quote my study titled “A Study of the Relationship between Leadership Development and Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement.” I said, “Reluctant organizational leaders should reconsider their professional leadership development investment avoidances because professional leadership development efforts help fulfill employee needs, improve employee perceptions, help improve overall performance and engagement, reduce turnover, and are a significant differentiator between successful and unsuccessful organizations.” By investing in professional leadership development, credit unions can improve their performance, better serve their members, and remain competitive throughout the coming hardships and beyond.
People helping people. If your credit union needs help to identify a quality program in your area, don’t hesitate to reach out. I am happy to help.