Managing The Emotional Bank Account

> “I never criticize a player until they are first convinced of my unconditional confidence in their abilities.” – John Robinson, a football coach

> This is a followup to Monday’s note on blame.>

> Another aspect of leadership is the courage and ability to declare reality. Sometimes reality is hard. Sometimes ugly. Sometimes difficult.>

> It can involve an assessment of one’s effort, negligence, attitude or talent. Not done well, it can sound like blame. You could read my note yesterday and interpret it to mean you shouldn’t criticize.>

> Robinson’s quote reminds us of an important leadership priority: establishing a relationship that enables feedback when required.>

> Stephen Covey called it building an “emotional bank account”. He said that with every relationship we establish an account. Every encounter results in a deposit or a withdrawal.>

> Robinson says he focuses on building a relationship that establishes for the player that he cares and believes in him. When that confidence is established, the balance in the account can stand a withdrawal. The player can put the sting of criticism aside because he knows the coach cares and had her best interest at heart.>

> The emotional bank account is opened on the first encounter. People develop impressions from body language. They look at facial expressions. They listen to tone of voice. They notice if you maintain contact and see them.>

> All of those are the initial contributions or establish a deficit. If it’s your goal to be a person who leaves an impact, you will be mindful of the impressions your actions and words make.>

> I’ve had it said to me: “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”  Thus, the challenge of the emotional bank account.