by Tansley Stearns
In the midst of a hailstorm on a spring day, I learned the impact of leadership. At one of my very first high school track meets, when our bus arrived we found out that due to the inclement weather, the meet would be cancelled. As the other buses pulled out of the parking lot and we happily gossiped and enjoyed our packed meals, our coach stopped us. He said, “Wait a minute, ladies. Just because we don’t have a meet doesn’t mean we aren’t running today.” We stepped off the bus, and in the nasty Michigan weather, our team practiced. That day I was so cold and frustrated, but my coach, our leader, taught me something: You train no matter what. You don’t stop because of weather. You don’t quit because conditions aren’t perfect. That lesson has stayed with me for life, and through the heat of summer and the bluster of the winter, I run six days a week. That’s the power of robust leadership: It inspires. It guides. It teaches. It builds stronger teams. It grows positive outcomes.
As credit unions become more complex, the demand for stronger leaders is real. It is no longer enough to be a subject matter expert with long tenure. Credit union executives and managers must coach, inspire, and lead. In order to build strong cultures, provide more value to our members, and develop thriving teams, people leaders need resources, guidance, and coaching to understand how best to drive positive change. We must help people not only see how to step off the bus and run today, but step outside and run no matter how tough the conditions.