In The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests that you have an “emotional bank account” with your team members.
Any time you listen to them, offer them support, acknowledge them or ask for their ideas, you make a small ‘deposit’ in the metaphorical account.
Any time you ask people to work late, do something beyond their normal job description, and particularly if it’s something they don’t want to do, you’re making a withdrawal. As long as the balance in the ‘account’ is healthy, people will be willing to fulfil your request.
Now, here’s the thing. The ‘withdrawals’ when you ask your team to do something ‘above and beyond’ for you will feel much larger than the deposits that you’ve been making. So you need to make those small deposits on a regular basis to build the account up to a healthy balance, so that when you need to make a withdrawal, there’s something there to take out.
If you make withdrawals too frequently, or you haven’t been making enough deposits, the account gets overdrawn. This means that when you make an additional request of your team, they will do it grudgingly, because they have to rather than because they want to. They will do the bare minimum they can get away with to say that they’ve done it, and in practice that means they will probably do it badly.
You may say that everyone knows this already. But as my friend Gavin Ingham has been known to say on his courses, you may know it, but are you acting on it?
Let’s find out. Take a few moments to ask yourself these simple questions:
- What kind of ‘withdrawals’ do you make from your team’s ’emotional bank account’, and how often do you make them?
- How healthy is your account looking at the moment? Is there a substantial balance in there, or is it overdrawn?
- What have you been doing to make deposits into the account?
- What else could you do to keep the account in credit (or restore it to health?) What are you going to do more of in future?
Let me know how you get on with this exercise by leaving a comment below.
(Note: if you came to this article in the hope of getting some tips on feeling better within yourself or building your energy, try these helpful articles:
The Emotionally Intelligent Way To Receive Feedback
You Don’t Need To Feel Guilty When You Take A Break
Compassion, Energy Drain, And Motivation