Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

Stephen R. Covey’s observations from his book of that name are the subject of my blog today and on point is the Emotional Bank Account. You can’t make withdrawals until you make deposits…

An Emotional Bank Account

We all know how our regular bank account works. We make deposits, save up money, and when we need that money later, we withdraw it.

An emotional bank account is an account of trust instead of money. It’s an account based on how safe you feel with another person. Covey identifies six ways to make deposits (or reduce withdrawals):

1) Understanding the Individual. This means listening intently to what the other person is saying and empathizing with how they may feel. It’s important to care for others and act with kindness toward them.

2) Keeping Commitments. How do you feel when someone arrives right on time when you have a meeting? How about when people simply do what they say they will do? You build up an emotional reserve by keeping your commitments.

3) Clarifying Expectations. We are not mind readers, and yet we consistently expect others to know what we expect of them. Communicating our expectations can help create a higher level of trust. When we ask for what we want, and we get it, we can then trust a little more.

4) Attending to the Little Things. Don’t you find that the little things tend to become the BIG things when they do not receive our attention? Doing the little things is how we honor and show respect for others. Small kindnesses, a smile, a little extra effort, a hug, doing something you didn’t “have” to: these are the things that build trust.

5) Showing Personal Integrity. Integrity is the moral floor upon which trusting relationships are built. When we operate with sound moral character, it makes it so easy for others to trust us.

6) Apologizing When We Make a Withdrawal. We will make mistakes; it’s part of life. But when you see you have violated a trust, sincerely apologizing is how we make a deposit to counteract the damage we have done. When your trust level is high, because you’ve made lots of deposits, communication is almost effortless. You can be yourself, and others understand and appreciate you. Then, when you make mistakes or offend someone unexpectedly, you draw on that reserve and the relationship still maintains a solid level of trust.

Conversely, when you are discourteous, disrespect others, interrupt others, speak sarcastically or ignore others, your emotional bank account becomes overdrawn because you have jeopardized the trust level. When the trust level is low, you have to be very careful of what you say.


    • You have to make deposits before you can withdraw. It’s always nice to have a large positive balance.

  1. Excellent food for thought LL. Recharging ones spiritual batteries for me is the flipside of that coin..hand in hand.

  2. Hmm… Emotional Bank. Summed up in Speak Softly and carry the correct caliber. To an extent.

    It’s funny. The more capable-of-violence (real violence, not thug violence like walking up to an old lady and cold-clocking her) a person is, it seems to be that they embrace a more peaceful everyday life (outside of their job-mandated destruction, of course.)

    And, yes, your sermonettes are more food for thought than most sermons I’ve heard by actual priests. Which makes some weird sense, because back in the days, one of the vocations for aged-out or injured-out warriors was often the priesthood. (BITD being the medieval and (Italian) renaissance period.

    Warrior Monk – that moniker suits you, LL.

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