Are your relationships overdrawn?

In any area of leadership, your most important asset is the people you lead. The worth of this asset increases or decreases, depending on how you treat them.

In the relationship between leader and follower, the banking principle of deposit and withdrawal is constantly at work. When something positive is said or given to a follower, a deposit is made. When something difficult has to be said, such as talking to someone about poor job performance or consistent tardiness, a withdrawal is made. Things can go very wrong if the withdrawal turns out to be larger than previous deposits.

For a leader to continue increasing the worth of those she/he leads, intentional deposits are essential.

Here are some ways you can invest intentionally.

Accentuate the positive: Develop a habit of always looking for the positive in others and pointing it out to them. Thank people for what they do day in and day out for you and the organization. Although it may have become routine for them, people usually feel good when they are noticed for what they do.

Sometimes as a leader you spend so much time focused on what needs to get done or how badly something was done that you forget you are dealing with people who have feelings.

People who feel appreciated and cared for are more likely to receive a withdrawal in a healthy way.

Show that you care: Ask about life beyond work. For example, ask about family, friends or special events. Despite what you may have heard, it is impossible to check your personal troubles at the door when checking into work.

A good leader not only asks about life outside of work but also remembers important details from the conversation to follow up on later. If someone shares about a sick aunt or parent, follow up at a later date by inquiring about how the family is doing. Doing so is making a deposit in the relationship.

Assume the best: Give those you lead the benefit of the doubt until you know otherwise. This is huge when it comes to making deposits in the relationships of those you lead.

When you hear something about one of your followers, or they fail to deliver on work promised, or they are not performing as well as they used to, avoid conclusions without giving them a chance to explain their position. Do not accuse them of anything unless you have first given them a chance to tell you about it; more importantly, have facts before you to support the accusation. Nothing erodes deposits like accusations based on hearsay rather than facts.

When you make deposits in the ways mentioned above and others you can think of or do already, you bring out the best in those you lead.

Furthermore you develop the kind of relationship that can sustain a withdrawal and regain its health in a short period of time. When the relationship is not healthy due to the lack of ongoing deposits, withdrawals can be devastating. The relationship breakdown has the potential to affect the others you lead in a negative way as well.

Have you been making deposits intentionally in the relationships of those you lead? If not, I want to challenge you to start as soon as you finish reading this blog.

  • Go over to the desk or office of someone under your leadership and take a minute to thank them for what they do.
  • Text or call someone and thank or encourage them.
  • Send someone a handwritten thank you or appreciation note.
  • Ask someone about life outside of work. Remember to pay attention so that you can ask a follow-up question at a later date.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.