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HONOLULU-Gary Heil told attendees of CUNA’s Future Forum last week that, in a survey of people on who they admired most, 80% provided names of people they did not know. They gave names like Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, and Winston Churchill. But what these well-known people all had in common is that they were all linked to a great cause. Credit unions, too, have a great cause, Heil, author of The Leader’s New Clothes explained. “So few people are lucky enough to go to work and have that,” he said. Credit unions should use this to their advantage to nurture their employees’ own motivation. Heil explained that leaders cannot motivate people, only create an environment that does not stifle it. “It isn’t about motivation. It’s about stopping de-motivation,” he said. He challenged credit unions to figure out what makes employees so motivated during their `honeymoon’ period and perpetuate that. To cultivate this, leaders have to exude trust. Show that you mean no harm. Leaders must also be authentic. In a “world of ubiquitous information,” authenticity helps, Heil said. And, leaders should offer a compelling reason to be different, he advised. Finally, leaders also have to be positive and optimistic in the face of failure. However, the problem with a pure optimist is that they tend to not see reality. “The optimist who can see reality is the leader we all admire,” Heil stated.

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