Deposits and Withdrawals: Two Essentials of Healthy Relationships

In leadership, your most important asset is the people you lead. The worth of this asset increases or decreases based on how you treat those people.

In the relationship between leader and follower the banking principle of deposit and withdrawal is always at work. When something positive is said or given to someone under your leadership, 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. The principle is true in all healthy relationships. Things can go very wrong if the withdrawal turns out to be larger than the deposits.

For the worth of those relationships to continue to increase intentional deposits are essential.

Here are some ways you can intentionally make deposits in the relationships of those you lead.

  • 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 to be noticed for what they do.

Sometimes as a leader you can spend so much time focused on what needs to get done, or what went wrong, that you forget you are dealing with people, and you have a relationship with them.

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

Show that you care by asking 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.  You want to remember 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 deposits into the relationship.

Give people the benefit of the doubt until you know otherwise. This is huge when it comes to making deposits with the people around you. When you hear something about someone, 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 any accusation. Nothing erodes deposits like accusations based on hearsay rather than facts.

When you become intentional about making deposits in the relationships of those around you, you bring out the best in them.

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 have a negative effect on everyone around you.

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

Go over to someone’s desk or office that is under your leadership and take a minute to thank them for what they do.

Text or call someone and thank them for what they do.

Ask someone about life outside of work. Remember to pay attention so that you can ask a follow-up question at a later date.

Remember, as a leader you are interested in the whole person, not just what they are responsible for as it relates to their job.

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.