In today’s world, most people have a money account, in which we make deposits, save up money, and when we need that money later, we withdraw it. Based on that principle, Stephen Covey talked about the Emotional Bank Account. His theory became one of the most powerful ideas ever created for the development of interpersonal relationships. In brief, this idea states that we can have an “emotional” bank account with anyone with whom we have a relationship; coworkers, family, friends or even acquaintances.
As it is the case with the regular money account, the “emotional” bank account begins on a neutral balance, and then you can use it to make deposits or values; you can either add to this relationship or withdraw from it.
To add to this account and develop the interpersonal relationship with others, Covey identifies six ways to make deposits and reduce withdrawals. Let’s have a brief look at them:
1- Understanding the Individual: This means listening intently to what the other person is saying and empathizing with how they may feel. It’s important to care for others and act with kindness toward them.
2- Keeping Commitments. Think about your feelings when someone arrives on time to a meeting, and when he doesn’t? This simple example is applicable on all types of commitments, so when you keep up with your word and commitment, you build up an emotional reserve.
3- Clarifying Expectations. Even though we find ourselves most of the time unable to understand what others want, we tend to expect others to understand what we want without expressing it. Which creates conflicts and disputes. However, communicating our expectations can help create a higher level of trust. When we ask for what we want, and we get it, we can then trust a little more.
4- Attending to the Little Things. Doing little things emphasizes trust and increase it. When doing a small gesture, you pave the way for big gestures and for more solid and trust based relationships.
5- Showing Personal Integrity. When you live your life in light of values, you will gain integrity and respect, and will certainly gain a lot when it comes to interpersonal relationships.
6- Apologizing When We Make a Withdrawal. Everybody makes mistakes that would lead to reductions of the emotional bank. However, apologizing can make a huge contribution in terms of deposits.
Take a moment to think about your relationships. Maybe start with your colleagues or co-workers or your loved ones. Have you been depositing or investing into the Emotional Bank Account? How have you been contributing? Are you making more withdrawals or deposits?
The Business Lobby Team