I’m involved in two training programmes this week where I’m making reference to the emotional bank account, and in particular the importance of keeping commitments.
When everyone is so busy (and probably quite hot and bothered at the moment to boot) it can be easy for little things to get missed.
Whether this is with a member of your team, a customer or even a loved one, it can certainly have a negative impact.
I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about the Emotional Bank Account before. When I’m training it’s one of the topics that frequently gets picked out as one of the key learning points.
And it’s no surprise really, as it’s such a powerful metaphor. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s what Stephen R Covey describes in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”; it’s a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that has been built up in a relationship.
One of the key ‘deposits’ is keeping commitments.
Telling someone you’ll do something and then not delivering on that promise can leave people feeling let down, or that they’re not valued. When what you’ve promised is important to that person it can compromise your relationship and the level of trust between you.
- Saying you’ll get back to someone by the end of the day, but don’t.
- Telling them you’ll review their pay in 3 months, but 3, 4, 5 months goes by and they hear nothing.
- Having a scheduled one to one meeting in the diary, that you then cancel at the last minute.
- Telling them you’ll involve them in a specific activity as part of their development, but you carry on without them (or worse, involve someone else!)
- Promising to raise an issue with your boss or the management team, but then don’t report back (even if there was no good news to report back)
- Saying you’ll try to rearrange the roster so they can change their day off for something important to them, but when the roster gets posted they see they are working that day.
Sometimes these are things that may seem minor or insignificant to you, but if they’re important to the other person, you need to place the same degree of importance if that person is important to you.
We all know stuff happens and often it’s a genuine oversight, but that doesn’t usually make the other person feel much better!
Or maybe you simply have nothing to report back. But they don’t know that unless you update them. If you’ve promised an update by a certain date, make sure you deliver this, even if it’s to say there’s no news yet.
But with the best will in the world there’ll be times when you’re unable to keep a commitment, even if only in their eyes.
And when this happens it sometimes requires courage to say you’re sorry. Apologising with the sincere words – “I was wrong”, “I showed you no respect”, “I’m sorry”.
It is one thing to make a mistake or let someone down by not keeping commitments, and quite another not to admit it.
Related video: A culture of Trust