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CU System
Filene report examines highly effective CU managers
MADISON, Wis. (4/6/12)--Because they must learn quickly and solve problems effectively, about 87% of middle managers are above average learners, according to a recent study conducted by the Filene Research Institute.

The results of the survey--and the implications for credit unions--are described in Filene's latest report, "Attributes and Skills of Highly Effective Credit Union Managers," written by Michael Neill, president and founder of Michael Neill & Associates Inc.

Filene said the report can be used as a tool in hiring and promoting credit union middle managers.

The study also identifies other traits of effective middle managers, including:

  • Energy: The "tendency  to display endurance and capacity for a fast pace" is a key characteristic, with 86% of middle managers scoring above the average employee.
  • Decisiveness: Using the available information to make decisions quickly is critical, with 80% of respondents above average.
  • Verbal skills: Among effective middle managers, 69% are above average in verbal skills, making them better able to communicate with members, subordinates, peers and executives.
Also noted in the survey is where the group scores below average employees. Being lower than average is not negative; it highlights traits where good middle managers are atypical, according to the study. These traits include:

  • Objective judgment: Great middle managers are far less likely than average employees to rely solely on data in decision making. About 79% fall at or below the average, indicating a strong reliance on intuition.
  • Manageability: Highly effective managers want their own leaders to define outcomes and then let them complete those goals with relatively free rein--72% score below average in manageability.
  • Accommodation. Good middle managers are significantly less accommodating than the norm. With 73% scoring below average, good middle managers know where they shouldn't go with the flow.
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