When you start a new job, don’t attempt to make multiple changes right away. Your new colleagues might not share your enthusiasm.
“You have to develop trust first,” says Lorrell Walter, senior vice president of marketing for $209 million asset Western Vista Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyo., describing an experience at a previous employer.
“I like to get stuff done, and I really rocked the boat,” she says. “So when I started at the credit union, I got the lay of the land and listened first. Before you make changes, pay attention and earn peoples’ trust.”
Walter shared this and other leadership lessons during a panel discussion Friday at the 2022 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in Los Angeles. Ariel Bilskey, CUNA’s senior director, learning strategy, moderated the session, during which panelists shared mistakes they’ve made as new managers and what they learned from them.
Adam Remshifski, assistant vice president of analytics and digital marketing for $3.9 billion American Heritage Credit Union, in Philadelphia, struggled with delegation initially.
“When I had one employee on my team, I did a lot of his work,” he says. “Sometimes it’s hard to let go of responsibilities and let your employees do the work. But delegation is important. You need to give up some of your responsibilities.”
Tiffany Mutchler, marketing manager at $172 million Voyage Federal Credit Union in Sioux Falls, S.D., strives to understand the tone of the emails she sends. “I’m a blunt person, and I don’t like to fluff up my emails,” she says. “That set up a couple of rocky relationships—you have to be careful with the word ‘fine.’”
The panelists also offered advice to their colleagues.
“Work-life balance matters,” Walter says. “If you have to give up your life to move up the corporate ladder, the job isn’t worth it. I’ll work late when needed, but not all the time. You have a family, friends, and a life. Live that.”
“Network, network, network, and make connections,” Mutchler says. “And don’t be afraid to take risks. I left my job without a plan in February 2020 and got two job offers with the help of my network. Leaving my agency job was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Define your personal brand and network it to your internal and external peers, Remshifski says.
“The more value you provide to projects and during meetings with your brand at hand, the more people will seek out your collaboration,” he says. “Small interactions add up, and when roles open up you’ll be considered for them.”