Finding your leadership stride takes time, experience and willingness to put yourself out there. My best teachers have been trial and error – my own and others I’ve observed or been counseled by. Over my years as CEO of CU Strategic Planning and previously heading up government affairs at what was then called the Northwest Credit Union Association, I’ve identified several lessons that have shaped my leadership style and can be applied at any level, at work and in your personal life. Here are 12.

1. Be as transparent as possible. Being transparent builds trust and helps your team to understand what’s important to the organization. Transparency helps everyone to row in the same direction. People function at their best when they’re secure knowing both the direction of the team and how they impact that direction. Managers who aren’t transparent can stoke fear that drives rumors, which isn’t helpful to a healthy, functional organization.

2. Take imperfect action. This has been my mantra this year. Very few actions are perfect. When you look back in hindsight, you may say, “I’m really glad I did that,” or “I could have done that better.” But at least you took action to move forward. Every decision can be a learning experience.

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