Leadership Development Is Not a Luxury

leadership development concept

3 minutes

You, your team, your credit union and thereby your members benefit when you continuously develop your leadership skills.

As a senior leader, you’re an expert navigator, steering your organization through uncharted waters. But like most, you also face a nagging worry … as the tides rise, is your team equipped to weather the storm?

Sadly, during turbulent times, an all-too-common practice is to relegate leadership development to the back burner—even more so than in “regular” times. Yet, this strategic misstep is like setting sail without a compass. A leader without continuous development risks losing their way in the unpredictable currents of the business world.

Continuous development for leaders is not a luxury but a strategic necessity, especially when the business climate worsens, and uncertainty looms large. The skills, industry knowledge and relationships cultivated during challenging times are the building blocks of organizational resilience and agility.

Leaders might believe they can “handle it,” but in the dynamic and unpredictable world of business, handling it might not be enough. The risk of falling behind, of facing a leadership deficit, can be costly, impacting not only the leader but the entire organization.

Reflecting on my own leadership journey, a specific instance stands out—a time when I overlooked a crucial business need within my team. One of my direct reports faced a challenge, a need I failed to anticipate. Rather than investing proactively in her development, I found myself over-functioning to address the immediate issue. 

The specific example involved a major client presentation. My team member, who played a pivotal role, lacked the necessary presentation skills to convey our value proposition effectively. The oversight mattered because the success of the presentation directly impacted our client relationship and potential revenue. 

In my attempt to save the day, I over-functioned, leading the presentation myself. While we secured the client, the long-term impact was felt—my team member lacked the crucial experience and development that would have strengthened her skill set. We ended up having to spend even more time catching up on my work and making sure she had what she needed to succeed going forward.

From that pivotal moment, I committed to better anticipating the needs of my team. Rather than reacting to challenges, I now invest proactively, ensuring my team is well-equipped with the skills, industry insights and relationships essential for success. 

Leadership development, I’ve learned, is not just about making the right moves; it’s about ensuring the entire team is empowered. 

Speaking of empowering teams, CUES Symposium, taking place Jan. 28-Feb. 1 is a great place to transform your top leaders—CEO and board chair—into a dynamic and effective duo. Obviously, the event location—Nassau, Bahamas—is lovely. But remember: Leadership development is not a luxury, it’s essential.

Heather McKissickI-CUDE, is CEO of CUES. Her 30-year not-for-profit career encompasses six different industry sectors. She is a former EVP at University Federal Credit Union, Austin, Texas, where she served for nine years. Prior to that, she was CEO of Leadership Austin, an organization dedicated to developing community and civic leaders across Central Texas. McKissick is the previous director of organizational development at one of the largest non-profit healthcare systems in the US and was an administrator and faculty member at St. Edward’s University. 

Transform Your Top Leaders

CUES Symposium is a perfect place to build your CEO-board chair team. Join us Jan. 28-Feb. 1 in Nassau, Bahamas.
Learn more and register!
Compass Subscription