Emotional Bank Account
At first it may seem unprofessional to cater to emotions in the workplace, however we’ve found that performance is difficult to improve without building effective working relationships with employees. A Studer Group study on work/life blend revealed five specific things employees want in their work environment:
- To feel valued and appreciated
- To know what to do to improve
- To provide input about their work
- To have the resources needed to do a good job
- To engage in processes that help with workplace productivity.
These five things can be accomplished by strengthening relationships with employees and building and emotional bank account with them.
The Give & Take
Environments that lack trusting relationships are often environments of high anxiety, fear, and a lack of engagement. Establishing trust allows us to build relationships, yet 63% of employees don’t trust their leaders, according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer. Leaders can reduce anxiety and create a feeling of safety where employees and colleagues know they are valued by showing kindness and compassion. Teams that trust each other are more productive, creative and resilient. Building trust means strengthening relationships by showing colleagues they are valued, liked and cared for.
Making deposits to an emotional bank account is like making an investment into the relationship. A deposit can look like a thank you note with specific feedback, a cup of coffee, or recognizing an important milestone like a birthday or anniversary. We make deposits when we celebrate accomplishments, or what people do well in front of their colleagues as well as when we engage others in honest and transparent conversation. Managing up the people you work with is another powerful way to strengthen relationships. There are several ways to build emotional bank accounts.
As leaders, the focus on maintaining a positive balance is important because the time may come where a withdrawal will be made. If we’ve focused on making deposits verses withdrawals, when a withdrawal is made it will barely dent the account. For example, if we give 90% of the time, hopefully we will be forgiven for the 10% of the time when we need to take.
Consistently treating people with respect, transparency, fairness and gratitude every day is an easy way to contribute positively to their emotional bank accounts. Do what you can to make others feel valued most of the time, they will feel valued and like you want them to succeed.
4 Steps to Build an Emotional Bank Account
- Find out what’s most important to each individual.
- Be unique in your approach.
Identify Opportunities for Deposits
- Plan deposits into your day or weekly schedule.
Commit to Making Deposits.
- Make deposits continually to build trust.
Feedback & Follow-through
- Ask for input to solve problems.
- Ask for feedback on how you can improve your relationship.
- Practice active listening when receiving feedback and show you care by communicating specific actions you will take to improve.
Studer, Quint. (2012) The Great Employee Handbook, Making Work and Life Better. Pensacola. Fire Starter Publishing.
Pilcher, Janet K. & Largue, Robin. (2014) Building an Emotional Bank Account. Article: http://www.seenmagazine.us/Articles/Article-Detail/articleid/3816/building-an-emotional-bank-account