I feel compelled to share an oldie but goodie. In a session the other day, I found myself talking about Steve Covey and his emotional bank account. It’s interesting. The majority of the people in the room had never heard this metaphor before.
Whether this metaphor is new to you or not, here’s how it works: Covey put forth the notion that you build up goodwill and trust with another person through consistent, positive interactions. He likens these interactions to making deposits into a bank account. And when the inevitable happens and you have to give someone negative feedback, you’ve got those deposits of goodwill to draw upon.
What prompted this reference was the group’s frustration that they strive to be the bigger person in their interactions with their subordinates. However, they feel this drive to be nice comes at the expense of giving less than stellar feedback when warranted.
I shared with them a story about some feedback I got that cut me to the quick. Even though it was painful to hear, I knew it was coming from a place of caring and wanting me to be the best I can be. I knew that because our emotional bank account was overflowing.
Remember what Ken Blanchard teaches: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” We can’t take away the sting of criticism but we can make it easier to hear when we’ve got those deposits. And, we are doing our subordinates a disservice if we don’t give them feedback that can help them course correct and grow.