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Cha-Ching: The Emotional Bank Account

“You can’t talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into.”

Stephen Covey

Were truer words ever spoken? I’ve been thinking lately about people and relationships. Now more than ever, trust and the ability to build something real with people is tested daily. What better concept to focus on than being aware of what we are creating with others?

What comes to mind for me with relationships is the emotional bank account, a great concept from Stephen Covey.

With regular bank accounts, we make deposits, save money, withdraw money when we need it. An emotional bank account is not based on dollars, but on trust. The more you deposit, the stronger the relationship. The more you withdraw without replenishment, the relationship suffers.

Covey identifies six ways to make deposits with people:

Understand the Individual. Listen to others. Show empathy and act with loving kindness.

Keep Commitments. Be on time for meetings, events, time spent with others. Honor obligations. Do what you say you will do.

Clarify Expectations. We often assume people will know what we expect of them, despite never having a conversation. Right from the start, clearly communicate about needs and answer questions to build trust.

Attend to the Little Things. As Covey said, “Little things will become BIG things when they do not receive attention.” Small kindnesses go a long way to building trust levels.

Show Personal Integrity. This is the floor upon which trusting relationships are built. Be your best self with others.

Apologize When We Make a Withdrawal. We all make mistakes, and sincerely apologizing for them can make a deposit to counteract any damage done.

What does it look like when trust is high? Effortless communication, others understand and appreciate you and you can be yourself. If mistakes are made, you can draw on that trust reserve and the relationship remains solid.

When you demonstrate poor, disrespectful behavior that bank account quickly becomes overdrawn. Real damage can be caused without positive deposits.

The key? Continue to be aware of your investments with people. The more you work at positive deposits of trust, the richer you and the relationship become.

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