Against The Grain


What does it mean to be a leader? I think it means that sometimes you need to walk on your own by taking or even creating your own path. Not all great leaders are appreciated at first; well actually some are even made to feel like an outsider. You have to be strong and stay strong, comfortable with being uncomfortable and committed to what you believe in. Especially as young leaders, when people might judge you on your lack of experience, knowledge or skills.

It takes a strong individual willing to stay committed and always being true to themselves in all aspects of life whether in business or personal to set us apart from those that just want to be a part of the crowd. By being your truly authentic self you will inspire the same for others around you and start a ripple effect.

Never lose sight that you are a part of a team that requires you to lead the way. Of course it’s always important to be a great team contributor but as a leader you will stand out in a different way. Continue to encourage and be aware of the influence you have on others, your influence should be used as a way to help strengthen those around you. Leadership isn’t just about doing what you would expect to do as a leader, but taking the chances where you might fail in order to have success around you.

The advantage of going against the grain is not being tainted by past experiences or failures and not being afraid to fail. You can come to the table with a fresh inspiring perspective, maybe something that has actually never been done before. I think it’s especially important for us, as young leaders in the credit union system, to constantly challenge ourselves. We face so many challenges and changes in our industry; a fresh new perspective is exactly what is needed from young leaders to come up with solutions to current challenges.

Credit unions have paved the way in many aspects, being innovators in the financial industry. I bet many of those ideas were the direct result of innovators that were initially turned down, but kept persisting. Some of those Credit Union firsts were inconceivable and had never been thought of or seen as bad ideas, but they turned out to be the way of the future and all the other financial institutions then followed along.

Set your own path in regards to leadership, but remember that going against the grain can be a positive, but difficult task that is in its own is very rewarding.

Summer Allen
New Community Credit Union

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