Thu, Jan 2, 2014
This year the MD|DC Credit Union Association and Envision Excellence, LLC were proud to sponsor a scholarship to benefit one fortunate credit union professional. To be awarded the scholarship, you needed to submit an essay answering the following question: “Why type of leader do you aspire to be?” We received a number of fantastic submissions, but ultimately chose the essay written by Kristina Morgan of NYMEO Federal Credit Union. Kristina will receive free tuition to the Leadership in Action program beginning next week, and you will find her winning submission following this announcement. This is the 2nd year we have conducted Leadership in Action, which is designed to grow and improve the leadership and management skills of emerging leaders and existing middle managers. If you would like additional information about the Leadership in Action program which begins next week, go to https://www.mddccua.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=540
What type of leader do I aspire to be?
Kristina L. Morgan, Nymeo Federal Credit Union
Who is a leader? Are they a good leader or bad leader, and why? While these questions may seem simple on the surface, a good leader is not as simple as affecting or leading others. In my professional career I have worked for many leaders and endured many different leadership styles. Some of these were effective, others were not. What I have learned is that an effective leader is not only someone with extensive knowledge in a particular industry, but someone who has charisma and social skills to gain the respect needed of others to follow.
The majority of my professional career has been in the Credit Union industry. I began my Credit Union career as a teller while completing my undergraduate degree, and have been extremely fortunate to experience many roles in the Credit Union since. My current position as the Senior Human Resources and Marketing Manager is the most enjoyable position yet. I contribute my happiness to not only the role I am in, but my direct supervisor. My supervisor is an exceptional leader and there are many qualities she has that make her the exceptional leader that she is. For starters, she listens. She doesn’t just listen to her direct reports; she listens to all the employees of the Credit Union. She listens to concerns an employee may have about the interest rates we are charging (or not charging). She listens to suggestions on how to change a procedure or streamline a process. But then she takes it one step farther, she shows the employees she has listened by making change. Taking action on what she is being told. We have recently undergone a rebranding and cultural change which caused significant concerns and confusion amongst the employees. The open communication between our CEO and staff has been in place for just over 2 years and the changes we see in the employees and the overall is organization is truly remarkable. Staff respects her, and because they respect her they follow.
Another notable quality my direct supervisor has is the ability to communicate. As I stated, we have recently had a significant shift in our culture. With this shift there has certainly been some push back, but what my supervisor has done an excellent job at is educating staff on why. I believe that communicating to staff why change has been made, and not just telling them what the change is, is key to employee buy-in. In addition, communicating direction to direct reports is important, which is another quality my supervisor excels in that makes her outstanding leader.
Authority can be gained in many ways and is a quality of a leader, but it should never be confused with what defines a good leader. There are many people in not just the Credit Union industry, but all over the world in roles with influence and power but do not have the respect of those they are leading. In conclusion, I aspire to be a leader in the Credit Union industry that displays organizational talents, is of good character, an excellent communicator, gains respect and exudes professionalism. I am very fortunate to work for a leader with these qualities that I can learn from.