In a strong and vibrant community, businesses, nonprofit groups and individuals rely on banks to provide guidance and financing to grow. When choosing a bank, you are placing trust in the values of the company’s leadership. Getting to know company leaders is key to ensuring your expectations are met.
Most banks are committed to serving their customers honestly and fairly, and we realize that encouraging, promoting and sustaining strong leadership starts at the top. Align yourself with financial institutions whose key figures know their community, nurture personal relationships at work and with community members, and make ethical decisions.
At Heartland Bank, Executive Team leaders Diane Lanier, chief retail officer, and Andrea Zurkamer, chief risk officer, oversee various employees and departments and are tasked with determining how Heartland Bank can best serve the communities in which it operates. Both stress that ethics and fair, non-discriminatory practices are key leadership strategies. Other points they feel are important include:
- Be curious, informed and heard. Asking questions, being aware of developments and trends, and using your voice to influence others is important, Diane believes. A vested interest in your work and sharing acquired knowledge helps motivate others to find solutions to challenges.
- Step outside your comfort zone. It’s not always easy to try something new, but voluntarily tackling challenges can be a true learning experience. Diane says: “[You can] become a resource and also learn more from others when you welcome the opportunity to lead.”
- Surround yourself with good people. “No one person can find success on their own,” Andrea suggests. “Surrounding yourself with smart, dedicated and supportive employees is a recipe for a successful team.” Positive mentors are important, too—their wisdom can be applied and shared along the way.
- Show initiative. Ready to take on challenges independently? This is a key leadership quality, according to Andrea: “It’s a way of saying, ‘I’m willing to accept more responsibility.’” It also sends the message that you aren’t afraid to enact change when necessary.
- Be ready to adapt. The COVID-19 pandemic forced bank leaders to act quickly and suddenly to ensure the needs of their respective communities continued to be met. Promoting and executing flexibility and having the ability to pivot on a dime are components of successful leadership.
Bank leadership, of course, requires overseeing quality products and services. However, you should also expect leadership transparency to ensure that operations are socially and economically responsible. PM