Top Five Credit Union Leadership Training Topics

Mark Arnold
Top Five Credit Union Leadership Training Topics

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – President John F. Kennedy


Credit union leadership training is a hot issue right now, and it should always be a hot issue. After all, your credit union’s future depends on it.

A sizeable portion of credit union mergers occur because of leadership issues. As NCUA Chairman Todd Harper recently said, "One reason so many mergers are occurring is an absence of effective succession planning, especially in smaller credit unions." But you need great leaders before you can have a great succession plan. 

And managers need training before they become great leaders. But what do you train them to do?

Here are the top five credit union leadership training topics your up-and-coming leaders need to learn.


1. Think Like an Owner – Leaders must always think like owners. That means they’re autonomous, proactive problem solvers who care about your credit union’s direction. This credit union leadership training topic helps your managers see the bigger picture and arms them with the ability to make effective decisions on their own. Because when you’re leading the institution, it’s on you to champion the culture and solve the most complex problems.


2. Leading Organizational Change – Change is constant (especially these days). Core conversions. A new brand. Economic headwinds. Mergers. Your credit union leadership training must cover how your leaders deal with change if you want future success. This involves learning the six stages of change (loss, doubt, discomfort, discovery, understanding, integration) and how engaging your team with change leads to long-term success.


3. Leading Through a Crisis – Sadly, the past several years show how important this skill is to teach in credit union leadership training. One core element of crisis leadership is communication…and overcommunication. You can’t tune out. You must lean into what’s going on, recognizing and rewarding employees to keep them motivated. And you need to guard yourself too. Because if you enter a downward spiral, the credit union enters a downward spiral.


4. Accountability – Your credit union leadership training needs to instruct leaders how to lay the bedrock of accountability in their organization’s cultures. Leaders need to set the example, treat everyone fairly and abide firmly by standards while remaining flexible about new ideas. Establish trust first and foremost, and you will get votes of confidence from staff members. And reengage those employees not taking accountability with communication, praise or by understanding their incentives and purpose (rather than simply booting them out the door).


5. Levels of Leadership – Based on John Maxwell’s “Developing the Leader Within You,” this credit union leadership training topic explains why people follow you as a leader. It starts with your position – you are labeled as a “leader” with a title (COO, VP, etc.). However, the end goal is to become a leader people want to follow because you represent something admirable. Employees follow you because of who you are.


These five topics are just brief summations of longer modules in On The Mark Strategies’ credit union leadership training program. To get the full meat and potatoes (or other topics featured in our more than 100 modules), book a free consultation today.

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO