As a leader I always appreciated those team members who were willing to put credit in the bank without expecting an immediate return. We all know those people. It might be that person who regularly puts in extra hours when required. Or it could be the person who is always willing to go that extra mile or help a co-worker with a task that is not in their area of responsibility. The key is that they do this willingly and not because of some guaranteed reward. These are the people you think of straight away when there are discretionary bonuses or they need some additional time off.

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I was reminded recently that this concept goes both ways. There are plenty of times as a leader when we need to also have credit in the bank with our teams. It’s normally when times get tough or in a crisis that we need to go to our teams with an empty hand and ask for them to step up another gear and help.

My specific situation was that I had to approach my team and let them know that their jobs were going to be made redundant in nine months because they were being off shored. That’s a pretty tough conversation. To make it worse I had to ask for their help to review and update documentation on their tasks as well as help train their replacements overseas! The result – all but one person stayed until their very last day and gave 100% to handing over their tasks to the new team. It was one of the proudest moments of my professional career. It was certainly a very humbling experience. It’s fair to say that I don’t know how we would have delivered the offshoring project without the level of cooperation and support they provided.

So I reflected on the past few years and I realised that I had cashed in the credit in the bank I had invested with the team. I was glad that I devoted the time to weekly one on ones and to providing regular feedback and role clarity. But most of all I was glad that I invested the time to know each and every one of the team. I knew them personally and cared about them. I knew their likes and dislikes. I knew the names of their children and family members. I knew them. Like the people I talked about at the start of this post I did this willingly and not because of some immediate reward.

However at the end of the day I needed to cash in on the credit in the bank I created. I was certainly very glad that I made the investment!

Are you creating credit in the bank with your teams?

Justin Savaille

Director

Management PT

www.managementpt.com