Q: How can a young professional develop into a strong leader while working amongst many experienced and senior colleagues?

Credit Union Young Leader:
Dan Hautzinger, CPA, CMA
VP, Finance and Strategy

Credit Union:
Vision Credit Union

A: I think the first thing young leaders need to realize is that respect for our senior colleagues, all colleagues for that matter, goes a long way. The reason your organization is successful is not because of the ideas you have yet to implement, but the years of hard work and dedication your senior colleagues pledged to your organization.

Secondly, when I was deciding what I wanted to do when I grew up my dad told me education and work ethic are two things no one can take away from you, so focus on building both. As a young leader you have to always be willing to learn/listen and lead by working harder than you are expected to. Participating in as many work events as possible is vital in proving you are a team player and are committed to the culture of your organization. Don’t be afraid to take on tasks no one else wants, Simon Sinek says Leaders Eat Last.

Finally, as a young leader you have to pick values that are not negotiable. Your organization doesn’t pay you to be a “yes” machine, stand your ground, respectfully, when asked to contribute to projects, your colleagues will respect you for this and your organization will get the benefit of your input.