There is a metaphor Stephen Covey liked to use in his work comparing the amount of trust that each type of relationship needs to have to a bank account. This emotional bank account, as he called it, also functions with deposits and withdrawals, as each interaction carries a certain emotional value which can add or detract from our perception in terms of whomever we engage with.
So, in other words, a high balance means trust and a low one distrust.
By thinking about relationships this way, individuals can really think about the quality of their relationships and what they can do to improve them or, if needed, end them. Relationships, just like in financial matters, can go bankrupt or become valuable assets.
Todd Davis, who is a prominent executive member of FranklinCovey and its Chief People Officer, offers these steps to build a strong emotional bank account:
1. First, think of someone important to you. After all, this is where it all starts.
2. Ask them to share with you things that are important to them and would increase their own trust in you. In other words, getting them to make a few “deposits”. They don’t need to be life-changing. Just small things, like a note of appreciation, taking them to lunch, mentoring them, giving them helpful feedback, listening to them, or anything along those lines.
3. Set time apart each week for these “deposits” to take place.
4. At the end of each month, talk to them and find out how these “deposits” have changed their level of trust toward you.
5. Rinse and repeat.
It really is that simple.
In Coronado International School, we believe in helping shape well-rounded individuals who will go forth into the world in full control of their independence and with absolute respect for that of others. This is why we apply the 7 Habits and, likewise, teach our cares about the importance of being prudent with the way they manage their own emotions.
Having a healthy emotional bank account can make all the difference, for both old and young, when interacting with the world around them.