The leadership connection is a give and take relationship. Think of each interaction between the Leadership Team member and a stakeholder as a transaction. The connection is an accumulation of transactions over time. During each transaction, the Team member – T – and the stakeholder – S – benefit from the interpersonal contact. This adds a little to the leadership bank account of each. They each have a little credit with the other person. If T notices an opportunity to do something for S and does it, then T’s account with S increases a little giving T a positive balance with S. Keeping a positive balance is a desirable situation for T; but it is important not to get the accounts too far out of balance. Either too much positive or too much negative balance causes people to become uncomfortable. This can fairly quickly cause one or both of them to avoid transactions with each other and may jeopardize the connection. Be aware of the relative balances and keep them close.
This is especially important if the stakeholders balance is the one significantly more positive than the Team members. The stakeholder keeps giving more than he (or she) gets and his positive balance keeps increasing. Since leadership connections are what are called a 0 sum game, any shift toward a positive balance for one participant in the connection results in a corresponding shift toward the negative for the other. If S gets a point by doing something for T, not only does S get a point, T also loses a point. For each positive addition to one person’s balance, there is a corresponding negative subtraction from the other person’s balance. If the stakeholders positive balance keeps increasing, the Team members balance keeps getting more negative. It is common for people to say it does not matter since no one is keeping score; but the fact is everyone keeps score, every time. For a Leadership Team member to ever think this is not true within any leadership connection is a critical error in judgment.