Meet a Local Leader: Tyson Leyendecker

Tyson Leyendecker, Dubuque Bank & Trust Market President

As market president, Tyson Leyendecker is responsible for leading all revenue generating business for DB&T, including commercial banking, agriculture banking, business banking; treasury management; retail; private banking, wealth management, and retirement plan services teams for Dubuque Bank & Trust.

Leyendecker holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of New Mexico, a diploma from the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Arizona. He holds a Credit Risk Certification designation from the Risk Management Association.

He is a board member of the Dubuque Racing Association, Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce (finance committee chair) and member of the Holy Family finance committee.

Leyendecker and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Piper and Winston.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?

My parents were a significant influence on me as they taught me from a young age that hard work and being persistent are key traits for success. Fortunately, I was able to see my father and grandfather succeed in leadership roles with a focus on putting individuals and employees first as they are the lifeblood of any organization, which especially reigns true in banking today.

During the past four years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a tremendously talented leadership team at Dubuque Bank and Trust that I owe much credit to. Specifically, Tut Fuller, who has been a great leader, mentor and friend to me as I’ve developed and grown over the years. His perspective from different industries has impacted my perspective on leadership and made me a more efficient and effective leader.

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization? Hands down, it is hiring quality talent. By having the right people in the right seats, it has enabled the bank to meet and exceed client expectations while creating value and enhancing our community.

As an organization gets larger, there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening? Heartland Financial and DB&T have a tremendous story of growth through the years and we have the opportunity to continue to build upon this story and our community as we grow. There is no other story that I’d rather share with individuals I meet, whether that be clients/prospects or employees.

Which is more important to your organization — mission, core values or vision? This is a good question. We believe that each plays an important role as we serve our employees, clients, community and shareholders. We view our mission as what we strive to do day-in and day-out, and how we create value. Our core values serve as our guide that we live by as an organization and our vision is where we are heading. We think about these three in tandem and believe that we need to have all three to create a cohesive organization, with respect for the organization’s history and the pathway going forward.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? I believe that understanding and respecting various perspectives is important. Throughout the course of our career and different roles within organizations, we are constantly creating, observing and absorbing perspectives. Sometimes these perspectives are enlightening, humbling, frustrating, engaging and energizing. We all come from different backgrounds, with different perspectives and unfortunately prejudices. By relating to individuals and understanding their perspective, a successful leader can more effectively align with their employees, provide effective leadership, and help them grow.

What advice to you have for future leaders? Be open to change and be patiently impatient.

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, is that change is inevitable, and whether we want or desire it, it’s bound to happen. Opportunities present themselves during moments of change and it’s your decision on what you do with that opportunity — you own your success.

I’m a firm believer in education and the pursuit of continued learning in multiple forms (e.g. formal education, self-taught/guided learning, experiences, etc.) these all take patience. However, while education takes a certain level of patience and time; it is important to be eager to learn, have the fire, and as I like to say, be patiently impatient. You must take initiative, get out of your comfort zone and absorb as much as you can in the moment.

What lessons can leaders take away from the current pandemic? I believe the effects and lessons from COVID-19 are to be fully seen and learned. However, there are some apparent trends emerging in how we conduct and desire to conduct our professional and personal lives.

In large part, by nature we are collaborative and social, this is evident by the desire and need for video conferencing in our work environments. Therefore, so many of us have spent countless hours and late nights talking to friends and loved ones on video, as we haven’t been able to be in person face-to-face.

I mention this because I believe leaders need to find ways to facilitate social interactions that facilitate intellectual curiosity and creativity now and well into the future.

What are two or three of the best things about being a leader? Creating an environment for people to learn, grow and achieve their personal and professional goals. I believe in hiring the right people for the role, enabling them and giving them the opportunity to succeed while being present to provide assistance when and where needed.

One of my favorite analogies I’ve heard in my career is, “We can afford to let the car drift off the road and hit the guard rail but we cannot let the car end up in the ditch.” I feel leaders are the guard rails to serve as support when needed and help employees grow from experiences.