Jun 13 2013

Leading for Credit Union Success: The Roles of Personality and Practices in CEOs

In these increasingly competitive times, credit unions need to have the best possible understanding of what a good CEO looks like and how to best develop a leadership approach. Our desire to better understand the key elements of CEO selection and development led us to engage Murray Barrick. Barrick surveyed a cross section of employees—ranging from entry level to C-suite—at 84 credit unions across the United States and Canada. Each survey participant evaluated the CEO’s personality, critical executive competencies, leadership behaviors, and performance. The non-CEO participants were also asked to rate their level of work engagement at their credit union. To determine credit union performance, the survey assessed the average of four bottom-line ratios as objective measures of organizational performance: return on assets, net worth to total assets, delinquent loans to total loans, and net charge-offs to average loans.

Just how important is the CEO to engaged employees and high performance? The results may surprise you:

  • CEO personality matters (even more than ability).
  • Not all abilities are created equal.
  • Smarter hiring can make a difference.
  • CEOs can change abilities and temper personality.
  • It’s important to engage employees—but more critical to have a good CEO.
  • High-performance work practices are not as important as you think.
Murray Barrick, PhD
Robertson Chair in Business at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, and executive director of the Center for Human Resource Management
Report Number 302