This blog post is part of the Next Top Credit Union Executive competition originally posted July 6, 2012.

Sitting around the dinner table in the evenings is a perfect time for practicing relationship and developing the art of conversation. My dad used to tell my siblings and I that dining is a place to have conversation while you just happen to be eating. He had a knack for making people feel special, that they made a difference and were important. So, last week, during dinner, I asked my dinner companions what they think is important in a leader, how they recognize leaders, and what they want to see in a leader if they decide to follow someone. Here are some of the conversation tidbits we discussed during dinner. It is amazing to me that several of them are the very same things we discussed at the dinner table years ago.

  • Someone who makes and keeps commitments is trustworthy and reliable. No matter how small or large the commitments are, keep them with a positive attitude.
  • Speak in such a way that others feel special and believe they make a difference. Ask questions, with authenticity, in the interests of others, and about what they enjoy and what is important. Understanding what is important to others is an important part of developing relationships.
  • Make a difference and inspire others to make a difference. Believe in yourself and others will be inspired to believe in themselves.
  • Extend beyond your inner circle. Develop projects that extend value beyond your own credit union and add value to the larger community of your region, the country, and globally.
  • Look for opportunities to give yourself away. The work you do should be so enjoyable and meaningful that you would do it for free.
  • Be a continuous learner. Leaders need to be continual learners; what is your ongoing learning plan.
  • Express thanks and appreciation to your mentors and supporters. Keep them updated on your progress and ask for feedback.
  • Start and end each day with a smile and gratitude and carry this attitude into your video and blog.
  • Speak with the passion from your heart!

Your video needs to be you, your true self and a representation of your core belief system. Listen to how you speak and notice if your heart resonates with your words. If you do not feel your words evoking passion from your own heart then you need to start over and find a passion and purpose that is you. Once your words and passion connect, then your viewers will really hear you! This is true leadership.


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