Stephen Covey, in his best selling book entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” spoke about emotional bank accounts. Covey’s concept of an emotional bank account refers to the effectiveness of our relationships with others. Very much like a financial bank account, we can either make deposits or withdrawals – deposits will create greater bonds with others, withdrawals lead to damage and depletion of the relationship. His theory includes 6 major deposits:
- Understanding the individual. This is about listening; getting to know the other person with the intention of understanding. Avoiding preconceived notions and judgements will help in keeping an open mind to someone else’s experiences.
- Attend to the little things. When we do something for others that we know matters to them, we automatically show our appreciation.
- Keeping commitments. Not the intention to keep commitments, but rather a conscious decision to come through for people. It is value based and creates trust.
- Clarifying expectations. This one is about making sure that our communication is open and we are not “expecting” that others know what we need from them. When we clarify, we take out the guess work.
- Showing personal integrity. Do our words and actions match? If yes, we are using integrity in our relationships to build emotional bank accounts.
- Apologizing genuinely. If you have made a withdrawal, recognize it and apologize with a genuine intention. This helps to build repair and will help temper the withdrawal.
Having a full and healthy emotional bank account helps us when going through challenging or tough times. By our actions, we can help others feel supported and cared for. Seems like a win-win to me 🙂
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