Are You Making Leadership Deposits or Withdrawals?

deposits or withdrawlsWe live in a “me” centered culture. We are taught to make sure that we look out for number one. We are in charge of our own careers and consequently spend a good portion of our time focusing on how we can advance ourselves in the professional world.


Think of your leadership development in banking terms. The me-centric approach of today’s world suggests that most of our development comes in the form of withdrawals that we make from our employers, colleagues, customers and others from whom we hope to gain something that will be for our profit.


I believe each of us stands to gain far more if we shift our emphasis from what we get out of others. i.e. withdrawals, towards regularly seeking to benefit others – or making deposits into them. Those deposits come in the form of our time, expertise and other resources and support we provide to help others.


There is ample research that suggests that those who seek to make deposits into others are happier, healthier and less stressed than people who continually make withdrawals. Leaders who intentionally invest themselves into their team members have employees that experience higher morale, are more engaged, stay longer, and often enjoy a better bottom line. Here are some strategies you should employ to make consistent deposits into the careers of those around you:


  1. Be available. Lots of people give lip service to helping others, but are often too busy when people need help. Making deposits requires a serious commitment of time. Share your expertise by mentoring team members. You will find the time you spend to be highly rewarding for you and your team members;


  1. Be a role model. You must first be the change you want to see in others. Don’t just talk about your values—live them out every day for others to see;


  1. Encourage and Inspire. An ounce of encouragement will come back to you with a pound of effort and commitment. Encourage your team members to stretch themselves and break out of their comfort zones. In doing so, make sure you;


  1. Embrace failure. Build a culture where your team knows that making a mistake is okay. Failure is the doorway to success. Focus on the teachable moment and help your team build on those mistakes;


  1. Be real. The trust on your team will be much higher if you are willing to be vulnerable. You don’t have to have all the answers. Admit you don’t know or that you were wrong. Your team often knows your shortcomings better than you do. Go with it;


  1. Challenge yourself daily. Ask yourself at the beginning of each day what you can do to support one of your team members. At the end of the day, ask yourself if you made more net deposits or withdrawals.


I believe the best way to approach making deposits into others is to never expect anything in return. The fact of the matter is, if you make a lifetime commitment of favoring deposits over withdrawals, the returns on your investment will be far more than you ever imagined.