When I worked in retail, we would have constant visits from my boss’ boss. We would walk through the store and he would ask us questions about our departments. One of the things that I still remember to this day was his relentlessness about the employee’s emotional bank account. He would ask the question if the leader has been overdrawing their employee’s account. I’m not sure if my face looked puzzled or not, but he stop and turned around and asked all of us if we understood. Even though I didn’t raise my hand or nod my head, I’m grateful he explained.
I learned the emotional bank account is about having a quality relationship. For example, the goal is to always keep your regular bank account in the positive, so you will never overdraw your account. For anyone that has made the mistake and spent more than their available balance, the account will be negative and will cause an overdraft fee. In respect to the relationship, the goal is to have positive interactions with regular deposits of authentic genuineness.
So now that you know what an emotional bank account is, we as leaders were being asked if we were overdrawing our employee’s accounts. I had to think about it. I honestly wasn’t sure. I cared about all my employees, but I don’t know if I showed them. I began to think about whether or not I asked about their lives outside of work.
From that moment on, I did what I could to show my employees that I cared. I didn’t want them to feel like a number like I did when I was in the military. In the U.S. Marine Corps, we were identified by our last name, social security number and blood type on our Kevlar helmets in boot camp.
It doesn’t matter what their age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or nationality is. Everyone has an emotional bank account, so be a deposit (a positive) and not a withdrawal (a negative) in someone’s life. Or in my own words, “be a blessing.”
I write this because my business is personal. My struggles are for your gain. No strings attached.
Nathan A. Webster, MBA