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What is an Emotional Bank Account?

What is an Emotional Bank Account?

Teams that trust each other perform better.


Trust and Emotional Bank Accounts

When trust is present, we do our best work. We’re not afraid of messing up. We take risks and say what we think. We make decisions more quickly because trust requires less due diligence.


When trust is missing, we play politics. We jockey for position. We require committees for big decisions. We talk about one another instead of to one another.


Stephen Covey described trust in any relationship by using the metaphor of an emotional bank account. Every relationship has its own account. Some of our accounts are positive. Some may be overdrawn.


We make a deposit when we keep a promise. Meet a deadline. Spend time together.


We make a withdrawal when we show up late. Fail to follow through. When we speak harshly without seeking first to understand.


When our emotional bank account balance with someone else is high, trust rises. When it’s low, trust drops.


In any important relationship, we should make deposits as consistently as possible. Because withdrawals are inevitable. Personal and professional relationships are complicated. We’re human.


With enough deposits, our relationships and teams can survive the occasional withdrawal (even a big one) without our emotional bank account being overdrawn.


But only if the balance is high enough. Only if we’ve made enough deposits.


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