Is your Emotional Bank Account overdrawn?

Evoke Potential, LLC Newsletter – Vol: 3 – September 2012

Is your Emotional Bank Account overdrawn?  What are you doing to make deposits in the Emotional Bank Accounts of those most important to you?

Source: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

To honor Stephen R. Covey, who recently passed away, this month’s newsletter focuses on his concept of the “Emotional Bank Account” that plays out in all of our lives and relationships each and every day. He truly left a legacy with his many leadership principles that will stand the test of time.

The Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor for the amount of trust that exists in relationships – both personal and professional. Deposits build and repair trust. Withdrawals break down and lessen trust. Everyone is an accountant. We track the deposits and withdrawals that others make with us, and they do the same with us.

Examples of deposits:

  • Seeking first to understand
  • Showing kindness, courtesy, and respect
  • Keeping promises and commitments
  • Being loyal to the absent
  • Setting clear expectations
  • Apologizing when you make a withdrawal
  • Giving feedback – using “I messages” (example: “I was embarrassed by your comment.”)
  • Forgiving others

Examples of withdrawals:

  • Assuming you understand
  • Showing unkindness, discourtesy, or disrespect
  • Breaking promises or commitments
  • Being disloyal or bad-mouthing others
  • Creating unclear expectations
  • Being proud or arrogant
  • Giving no feedback or evaluating a person’s character – using “you messages” (example: “You are inconsiderate.”)
  • Holding grudges

Our accounts with the people we interact with on a regular basis require constant investment. Building and repairing relationships takes time and effort. There are sometimes automatic withdrawals in our daily interactions with others or in their perceptions of us that we aren’t even aware of.

The cost of withdrawals is very high and can lead to devastating results:

  • Team members become passive aggressive (example: forget to pass on messages or neglect to tell you about important meetings)
  • Employees quit their jobs or become ROAD employees (retired on active duty)
  • Teenagers stop communicating with their parents
  • Friendships are estranged
  • Marriages end in divorce

That’s why it’s so important to make regular deposits with those we care about most – family, friends, team members, etc. If we ensure that our accounts with others are consistently at a surplus, then we avoid being overdrawn in those relationships, and they will be there for us when we need them.

For a strong Emotional Bank Account with others:

  • Remember the 5:1 rule: It may take five deposits to make up for one withdrawal.
  • Take the time to understand the other person’s “currency”. What constitutes a deposit to one person may be a withdrawal to another (example: public awards and recognition).
  • Practice being sincere and consistent in your deposits. Small deposits over time build large account balances.

Coaching can help you put these ideas into practice to increase your Emotional Bank Account with others.

Evoke Potential, LLC can help you…

  • Increase your Emotional Bank Account with others to…
  • Improve your relationships with family, friends, and team members to…
  • Increase your likeability, happiness, and overall success as an end result. (See July & August newsletters on the importance of likeability & happiness to achieving success.) 

“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.”
– Anonymous

“The only way to build trust professionally or personally is by being trustworthy.”
– Gerard Arpey, CEO, American Airlines

“If you want to retain those who are present, be loyal to those who are absent.”
– Stephen R. Covey

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