Credit management is not for the faint hearted. People will disagree
with your decisions, and the sooner you accept this as inevitable
the sooner you will stop worrying every time it happens. If you
cannot handle confrontation, it is time to look for another line
Remember also that if a controversial decision turns out to be
correct, the response is likely to be: "That's what we pay
you for." If the decision turns out to be wrong, count on
being second-guesses with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. Based
on these realities, credit professionals have to do what they believe
is correct and allow the chips to fall where they may.
80% of the credit decisions you make can and will be made in a
short period of time and with very little thought. The other 20%
of the decisions you make is what your employer is really paying
you to do. It's the ability to make these tough calls that separates
the mediocre from the outstanding credit professional.
Once you have made a tough call, don't hedge your bets with 'weasel
words' that make it appear that you are unsure of the decision.
Recognize that once the decision is made, the hard part is over.
Finish the job by announcing your decision in clear and unambiguous
Don't wait for 'perfect information' to make a credit decision.
Once you have enough information to make a decision, act.
Managers that recognize and reward mediocre performance are guaranteed
of one thing...that they will drive a wedge between themselves
and their star performers. Remember this: Mediocre/average work
should be unacceptable. Good quality work should be the least you
will accept. Superior work should be expected; and exceptional
or outstanding effort and accomplishments should be recognized
The moment you start "shooting the messengers" who bring
you bad news is the moment you start encouraging your subordinates
to hide their problems and mistakes instead of bringing them to
you to help solve them.
Strong managers encourage their subordinates to develop. Weak
managers are threatened by assertive, motivated, and ambitious
subordinates who they see as a potential threat. Because of their
own fear of inadequacy, weak managers do what they can to discourage,
de-motivate or derail star performers.
A credit manager should always be ready to roll up his or her
sleeves and jump in when something needs to get done. A good manager
will often come away with fresh insights about how things are being
done and how they could be done better in the future. In other
words, you can't lead from the rear.
Don't fall into the trap of allowing your subordinates to delegate
upward. Often, substandard employees try to get their manager to
make all of the difficult decisions; to handle the tough questions;
and deal with 'their' irate customers. Weak managers relish the
opportunity to 'take over' when a subordinate is struggling. The
best managers know that bailing out poor performers hurts the credit
department rather than helping it in the long term.
The only thing worse than hiring the wrong person is keeping the
wrong person. Learn to cut your losses --- and make your decision
to terminate the individual sooner rather than later.
Remember the old saying: "A zebra can't change his stripes." Get
rid of subordinates with bad attitudes. Forget about trying to
change them for the better. These employees will suck the energy
out of their manager, and poison the work environment for their
co-workers if you let them stay.
If you view your career as being at a standstill, you are probably
being far too optimistic. If your career is languishing, you are
in serious danger of becoming obsolete, and expendable. What should
you do? Ask for more responsibilities. Demonstrate an interest
in learning new skills. Start moving now --- before someone starts
moving you in a direction you don't want to go.
There is an old saying which is particularly applicable about
credit management. It is: "Victory has many fathers, while
defeat is an orphan."
One final thought: In my thirty years, I met a number of credit managers
who confided in me that they hated their jobs. Life is too short to
do a job that you hate...so if you hate what you do start planning
your exit strategy today!