17: Leaders with Heart Discern When Total Transparency is Warranted And Then Exhibit It

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As a leader, people are always watching us, and we get to choose what it is they see and what it is they perceive in us. Click To Tweet

By being authentic, it’s a lot less exhausting trying to be different people in different environments. You will be your whole self no matter where you’re at, and your team will be much more willing to go over and above for you. They trust that you are always you, and you aren’t pretending to be someone else.

Authenticity is highly valuable. #leadershipwithheart #begenuine #beauthentic Click To Tweet

Today our guest is Jim Reuter, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank. In this episode we talk about legacy, transparency and vulnerability, owning your mistakes, and reconnecting with your team. Click on the play button to listen!

Jim has extensive banking experience, starting his career at FirstBank in 1987 and holding several different roles within the organization. Founded in 1963, FirstBank is Colorado’s second largest bank and third largest privately held bank in the nation. FirstBank operates more than 120 locations in Colorado, Arizona and California with more than 2,600 employees. The company has over $17 billion in assets. 

He previously served as FirstBank’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) where he oversaw many of the bank’s divisions, including: loan/mortgage operations, IT, online banking, payments, contact center, online account/loan acquisition, and treasury management. FirstBank has attributed many of the bank’s products and IT innovations over the years to Reuter’s leadership and guidance. Prior to his roles in operations and IT, Reuter served as a loan officer in FirstBank’s Palm Desert location.


He is heavily involved with industry efforts including:

  • American Bankers Association – Chair of the Payments System Advisory Committee
  • American Bankers Association – Vice Chair Government Relations Committee
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City – Payments Advisory Group
  • Pacific Coast Banking School Board Member


Reuter is also a highly active member of the community, currently chairing on multiple nonprofit boards including the Special Olympics of Colorado and Cerebral Palsy of Colorado Legacy Foundation.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Luther College and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Banking.

Your Legacy Matters

Early in my career and life, I’ve always been one of those that gave 100% to get the highest result possible. To be honest, I think it’s because I was always a B student and could get A’s by working hard.

That’s still true today. What’s different today versus earlier in your career is that effort used to be to achieve results yourself, but as you take on a leadership role and you start to be responsible for the growth of others, that 100% goes towards supporting that team and helping us achieve the goals that we want to.

Where that comes from? I think it’s just the joy you see when you work with others and you get them to perform at a level that they didn’t think they were capable of. But also just being there for individuals, whether it be when things go well or they don’t go well.

At the end of the day, the #legacy we all leave is the impact we’ve had on others. #leadership Click To Tweet

Be Yourself, and Be Comfortable With It

You’ll hear a lot of terms used – I’m heart-led, vulnerable and many different things. But the term I like to use is “authentic”.

I think people that I work with on a regular basis, if they saw me outside of work, or they saw me here, they wouldn’t see much of a different individual. I think, at the end of the day, that’s really important.

People don’t wonder where you’re coming from. I’m not saying that everybody always agrees with the direction or something that you’re trying to do, but if they know that you’re coming at it authentically and with no ulterior motive, that it’s really what you think makes sense and you’ve done your work and you’ve gotten input from others… I just think authenticity is really important, and it’s what you’re going to be able to do consistently, and people really pay attention to how consistent you are as a leader as well.

Be authentic. Really look at yourself and go, What skin am I in? What am I comfortable with? Click To Tweet

Be Connected

Nothing reconnects you with your team more than being there while you’re making the decisions and doing things. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I’ve interacted with enough other CEOs – they get very good at delegating, but I think you can get to the point where you delegate to the level that people don’t feel like you’re engaged in the day-to-day.

I make sure that even with travel and everything going on, I will make it on key meetings. I will not have them move the meeting; I don’t like to send the message that I’m somehow more important so their schedules get whipsawed around by my travel and different things.

In addition to that, it’s literally swinging into someone’s office and sit down and talk about things that they’re working on.

I think one of the most important things is to know yourself. People see #authenticity and they know it right away when they see it, and they’ll get behind that. Click To Tweet




Connect with Jim on LinkedIn

Email him at jim.reuter@efirstbank.com

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