Service, community and kindness: Shelly Addington’s people-focused leadership
Shelly Addington, senior vice president, private banking at UMB, was recently nominated as one of the Springfield Business Journal’s Most Influential Women.
My leadership style is driven by a longstanding principle: treat others like you would like to be treated. I do my best to follow this mantra when leading my team. I firmly believe leaders don’t ask others to do something that they themselves wouldn’t do and have lived by this principle my entire career. Leading by example is also important because it lifts the entire workplace and helps mentor and grow new leaders.
I also try to listen more than I talk. While it’s not always the easiest thing to do, it allows me to fully understand my clients’ goals as well as allowing my team to adjust when needed to continue to grow and improve. I constantly try to provide my team with constructive feedback and coaching while keeping a keen eye toward achieving growth, meeting service objectives and delivering a superb customer experience. This approach creates positive morale and a tight-knit culture within my team.
Valuing a team’s diversity—within your team, peers and broader company—is critical, and it creates opportunities for continued growth and learning. When people’s voices are heard and they feel their opinion matters, it cultivates a positive work environment. Be sure to involve and listen to your entire team, whether at work, at home or in the community.
Responsive, reliable and relationship-focused
In my role as a senior vice president and private banking client manager for UMB Bank, I have to be an advocate for my clients and work to deliver personalized financial solutions that are aligned with my clients’ financial goals, while also serving as a responsive and reliable source for both my clients and UMB partners. I put my clients and their needs first in every situation, work hard to identify the best solutions for them and provide guidance through challenging times. By doing so, I’ve built up the trust of not only my clients, but my partners in other lines of business outside of Springfield.
Serving her community
Lending a hand to others is something I am passionate about and I’ve devoted much of my time to assisting those who are most in need—especially those who are underprivileged and marginalized. I believe it’s important to try to understand everyone’s unique situation and to put myself in their shoes and try to imagine what they are going through.
Currently, I serve on the board of directors for the Hope Homes of the Ozarks Adult Team Challenge. The mission of the organization is to minister hope and healing to those struggling with addiction and other life controlling issues. As a board member, I help strengthen the organization’s ties and support fundraising efforts so participants in the one-year residential program—the majority of which are residents coming directly from prison and are without any resources to pay for the program—can receive the counseling, education, skills and mentoring they need to become productive members of society. Most recently, our team worked diligently to secure a donor which helped fund the nonprofit’s self-supporting woodworking shop that is used to teach residents valuable skills.
As a resident of the Springfield community for more than 20 years, I have dedicated my time and commitment to many other community organizations over the years. When you are involved and show you are invested in the betterment of your community, it hopefully inspires others to do the same. Being an active participant can have a big impact, whether that is volunteering or helping a neighbor.
Caring and connecting with others
We should always be aware of what’s happening in the moment with the understanding that our reactions are what really matter. We have no idea what others are walking through each day and how much a small, kind gesture can really mean to someone. Time and time again through my volunteer work I have witnessed it’s the attention to detail or a smile that makes the biggest difference in a person’s life.
Whether it’s in my career at UMB or in my community volunteer work, I try to show people that I care—because I do. A leader has to make some tough decisions at times, but must be able to connect well with others, be empathetic and a leader that people feel they can come to for guidance. Since the beginning of 2020, this has been even more true. With unprecedented challenges facing our community—whether social, economic or health related—it’s important to embrace our ability to uplift each other and help position others for success and prosperity.
No matter what you do each day, you must give it your very best and equip those around you with the skills they need to be successful as it’s our job as leaders to help build others into great leaders. Showing a willingness to serve, being kind, having compassion and learning to listen more than speaking are key components of strong leadership.
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