UMBC Wellness in the Workplace

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May 2013: “Make more deposits than withdrawals in your relationship’s emotional bank account.”

This month’s practice comes from author and consultant, Stephen Covey. In his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Covey uses the metaphor of the Emotional Bank Account to describe relationships. This metaphor works with any relationship – coworkers, family, friends, etc., and the idea is simple. We enter into relationships with a neutral balance and over time we can make deposits or withdrawals. Instead of using dollars, we view these deposits and withdrawals in terms of ‘emotional units’ that are centered around trust. In the book, Covey outlines six ways that we make deposits: understanding the individual, keeping commitments, clarifying expectations, attending to the little things, showing personal integrity, and apologize sincerely when we make a withdrawal. We will be delving further into each of these over the next six months but for now wanted to lay the groundwork for the overarching philosophy of relationship as emotional bank account.

Over the next month, look at your relationships in terms of this concept. Pay attention to those that have a positive balance. What deposits do you make on a regular basis to tend to these relationships and what difference does it make? Similarly, with relationships with a negative balance, how did they get there? What withdrawals do you make regularly and what difference do these make? Write down what you observe and keep this list handy for next month as we begin exploring the first of 6 major ways of making relationship deposits.