An Accidental User

Are you abusing high performers through neglect? People get buried or worse yet, burned by highly focused leaders. Passionate vision may transform you into a person that thinks of people as tools. You may need to make things more personal.

Making it personal

Yesterday, I called an active, generous volunteer. He’s the type that consistently says, “Dan, let me know if you need something.” He’s got a big heart and generous spirit.

I’ve called him several times over the last few weeks and he always steps up.

Making interest your interest

Yesterday, I called him again, but not to ask for something. My interest was simply to express interest in him and his family, not even to say thanks. I was just touching base. During the call, I asked if I could do anything for him.

It surprised him. Every other time my number appeared on his caller ID, I asked for something. Right now, He’s ok with that, but I’m not. I don’t want to be an accidental user and abuser.

The trouble with generous, motivated people is you may mistakenly believe they don’t require encouragement. By the time they need encouragement, encouragement may not be enough.

Yesterday, Scott Couchenour left this insightful comment on the post titled: “Why Should Anyone Follow You?”

Be on a mission
Say “thank you”
Walk your talk
Be intolerant of others’ self-destruction
(Emphasis added)

Robert Martin rightly observes, “Taking an interest in what others are thinking and doing is often a much more powerful form of encouragement than praise.”


Moving from professional to personal interest in someone may seem inappropriate. For example, expressions of interest might be misinterpreted as romantic interest. Or, it may feel intrusive.


How can leaders encourage others by “making it personal?”

What’s dangerous about moving from professional to personal interest? Suggestions for dealing with these dangers?