Make Valuable Deposits in Your Emotional Bank Account
In a recent conversation, a good friend raved about the CEO in his global consulting firm. He said that the CEO had always been rather cold and aloof and rarely shared personal information, but he had changed in his willingness to be open and more vulnerable.
Our friend said that now the CEO sends weekly emails to all employees, not only updating them on the state of the business but also expressing uncharacteristic openness about how he is feeling and dealing with many company and global challenges. The CEO shared that journaling has helped relieve his stress and was including a few of his journal entries.
In addition, during video meetings, he asks people about their home office and even welcomes pets and children who suddenly jump into sight. The start of meetings has replaced the old perfunctory “How ya doing?” with a sincere checking-in about “How are you really doing?” which provides the space for people to express how they, too, are feeling and dealing with their experience.
“People are noticing how he’s changed and allowed himself to be emotional and vulnerable,” our friend said. “He is like a new leader and making big deposits into the emotional bank account!”
Stephen R. Covey first wrote about the notion of the emotional bank account, which is not about money, but about the quality of relationship trust and genuineness.
Every time you interact with another, you are either making a “deposit,” through caring, vulnerability, and authenticity OR you are making a “withdrawal” any time there is blaming, insensitivity, or any other relationship-damaging action.
The 2nd of the 3 Vital Questions® is: How are you relating to others, your experience, and yourself? Are you relating in ways that produce or perpetuate drama or in ways that empower others and yourself to be more resourceful, resilient, and innovative?
The importance of this question has only grown as we, individually and collectively, navigate through the uncharted post-pandemic era and face other rapid global challenges.
What our friend’s CEO is doing and modeling for others is making positive emotional bank account deposits. These deposits will continue to pay dividends in the company culture through empowering relationships in teams, clients, and other stakeholders.
We are seeing and hearing other examples of this kind of genuine way of relating to some surprising situations. For instance, David recently heard an interaction on our local National Public Radio station that caught his attention. The radio host had just run a national story then turned to the traffic reporter for an update. But first, he paused and asked the reporter, “What brings you joy?” She paused, replied and, in turn, asked the host the same question. It was a genuine moment of human interaction and the making of a deposit.
As we experience these positive connections, there is no denying that victimization during this stressful time is on the rise. Almost daily there’s new statistics about violence, public examples of rage, and so many more disheartening breakdowns in human relationships. In these examples, the emotional bank account is bankrupt.
Unfortunately, expressions of vulnerability, extra doses of kindness, and extending patience and love to others are not present in these statistics. We wish that they were!
As you go through the coming days, we encourage you to be a “depositor” in the emotional bank accounts of others—and yourself. It WILL pay dividends!