Habit 4, Think Win-Win, The Laws of Love and the Laws of Life

Author’s quotes:

“When we make deposits of unconditional love, when we live the primary laws of love, we encourage others to live the primary laws of life. In other words, when we truly love others without condition, without strings, we help them feel secure and safe and validated and affirmed in their essential worth, identity, and integrity. Their natural growth process is encouraged. We make it easier for them to live the laws of life—cooperation, contribution, self-discipline, integrity—and to discover and live true to the highest and best within them. We give them the freedom to act on their own inner imperatives rather than react to our condition and limitations. This does not mean we become permissive or soft. That itself is a massive withdrawal. We counsel, we plead, we set limits and consequences. But we love, regardless.

When we violate the primary laws of love—when we attach strings and conditions to that gift—we actually encourage others to violate the primary laws of life. We put them in a reactive, defensive position where they feel they have to prove ‘I matter as a person, independent of you.’

In reality, they aren’t independent. They are counter-dependent, which is another form of dependency and is at the lowest end of the Maturity Continuum. They become reactive, almost enemy-centered, more concerned about defending their ‘right’ and producing evidence of their individuality than they are about proactively listening to and honoring their own inner imperatives.

Rebellion is a knot of the heart, not of the mind. The is key to make deposits—constant deposits of unconditional love.”

Personal comments:

Over many years as a Human Resource professional, I’ve witnessed violations of the primary laws of unconditional love. Managers commit it in many ways, but mainly by their inability to affirm employees’ worth. The results were employees who were reactive, defensive, fearful, and viewed management as autocratic (e.g., “I’m king/queen and you serve me”), causing limited communication, cooperation, and productivity.

Why is it that management, in most cases, are incapable of fulfilling their basic responsibilities of leadership? Is it caused by how they are/were managed, or is it caused by those making the hiring decisions? Is it selfishness, lack of interest, politics, or maybe it’s the, “I don’t give a darn about leadership principles” mentality? Whatever the cause remember leaders take the responsibility to learn the skills of a leader, practice them, and take them to heart.

“Leaders are like eagles; they don’t flock; you find them one at a time”

Next: Habit 4
Think Win-Win
Six Paradigms Of Human Interaction

Habit 4, Think Win-Win, Six Major Deposits (4 through 6) To build Emotional Bank Accounts


4-Clarifying Expectations

“The cause of almost all relationship difficulties is rooted in conflicting or ambiguous expectations around roles and goals. Whether we are dealing with the question of who does what at work, how you communicate with your daughter when you tell her to clean her room, or who feeds the fish and takes out the garbage, we can be certain that unclear expectations will lead to misunderstanding, disappointment, and withdrawals of trust.

That’s why it’s so important whenever you come into a new situation to get all the expectations out on the table. People will begin to judge each other through those expectations. And if they feel like their basic expectations have been violated, the reserve of trust is diminished. We create many negative situations by simply assuming that our expectations are self-evident and that they are clearly understood and shared by other people.

Clarifying expectations sometimes takes a great deal of courage. It seems easier to act as though differences don’t exist and to hope things will work out than it is to face the difference and work together to arrive at a mutually agreeable set of expectations.

5-Showing Personal Integrity

Personal Integrity generates trust and is the basis of many different kinds of deposits.

Lack of integrity can undermine almost an other effort to create high trust accounts.

Integrity includes but goes beyond honesty. Honesty is telling the truth—in other words, conforming our words to reality. Integrity is conforming reality to our words—in other words, keeping promises and fulfilling expectations. This requires an integrated character, a oneness, primarily with self but also with life.

One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. In doing so, we build the trust of those who are present. When you defend those who are absent, you retain the trust of those present.

Integrity in an interdependent reality is simply this: you treat everyone by the same set of principles. As you do, people will come to trust you.

Integrity also mean avoiding any communication that is deceptive, full of guile, or beneath the dignity of people. ‘A lie is any communication with intent to deceive,’ according to one definition of the word. Whether we communicate with words or behavior, if we have integrity, our intent cannot be to deceive.

6-Apologizing Sincerely When You Make a Withdrawal

When we make withdrawals from the Emotional Bank Account, we need to apologize and we need to do it sincerely. Great deposits come in the sincere words: ‘I was wrong’, ‘That was unkind of me’, ‘I showed no respect’.

It takes a great deal of character strength to apologize quickly out of one’s heart rather than out of pity.

People with little internal security can’t do it.

Sincere apologies make deposits; repeated apologies interpreted as insincere make withdrawals. And the quality of the relationship reflects it.

It is one thing to make a mistake, and quite another thing not to admit it. People will forgive mistakes, because mistakes are usually of the mind, mistakes of judgment. But people will not easily forgive the mistakes of the heart, the ill intention, the bad motives, the prideful justifying cover-up of the first mistake.”

Personal comments:

I concur with Covey on the need for clarifying expectations. In my career it was the major cause of interpersonal “problems”. To learn more about it refer to my post of March 28, 2012.


Habit 4 Think Win-Win
The Laws of Love and the Laws of Life

Habit 4, Think Win-Win, Six Major Deposits (1 through 3)

Author’s quotes:

“Let me suggest six major deposits that build the Emotional Bank Account.

1-Understanding the Individual

Really seeking to understand another person is probably one of the most important deposits you can make, and it is the key to every other deposit. You simply don’t know what constitutes a deposit to another person until you understand that individual. What might be a deposit for you—going for a walk to talk things over, going out for ice cream together, working on a common project—might not be perceived by someone else as a deposit at all. It might even be perceived as a withdrawal, if it doesn’t touch the person’s deep interests or needs.

One person’s mission is another person’s minutia. To make a deposit, what is important to another person must be as important to you as the other person is to you.

2-Attending to the Little Things

The little kindnesses and courtesies are so important. Small discourtesies, little unkind-nesses, little forms of disrespect make large withdrawals. In relationships, the little things are the big things.

I don’t believe age or experience makes much difference. Inside, even within the most toughened and calloused exteriors, are the tender feelings and emotions of the heart.

3-Keeping Commitments

Keeping a commitment or a promise is a major deposit; breaking one is a major withdrawal. In face, there’s probably not a more massive withdrawal than to make a promise that’s important to someone and then not to come through. The next time a promise is made, they won’t believe it. People tend to build their hopes around promises, particularly promises about their basic livelihood.

I believe that if you cultivate the habit of always keeping the promises you make, you build bridges of trust that span the gaps of understanding between you and your child,” (and others).

Personal comments:

It would be rare indeed if anyone has not experienced a commitment or promise broken. It feels like being punched in the gut when it happens.

My most recent experience, which I think I’ve written about before, is a politician, in a position of authority, who made a commitment to support my endeavors to remedy problems with a government agency. Unfortunately not once did this “official” support actions that I took that would have remedied the situations. As expected, my Emotional Bank Account was emptied by his lack of action/support, and his failure to recognize it and apologize for it.

Covey’s six major deposits should not be ignored. They are powerful actions when developing meaningful interdependence.

Next week the remaining Deposits will be presented and commented on.

Next: Habit 4
Think Win-Win
Six Major Deposits (4 through 6)

Habit 4, Think Win-Win, The Emotional Bank Account

Author’s quotes:

“We all know what a financial bank account is. We make deposits into it and build up a reserve from which we can make withdrawals when we need to. An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship. It’s the feeling of safeness you have with another human being.

If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping my commitments to you, I build up a reserve. Your trust toward me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve, will compensate for it. My communication may not be clear, but you’ll get y meaning anyway. You won’t make me ‘an offender for a word.’ When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.

But if I have a habit of showing discourtesy, disrespect, cutting you off, overreacting, ignoring you, becoming arbitrary, betraying your trust, threatening you, or playing little tin god in your life, eventually my Emotional Bank Account is overdrawn. The trust level gets very low. Then what flexibility do I have?

None. I’m walking on mine fields. I have to be careful of everything I say. I measure every word. It’s tension city, memo haven. It’s protecting my backside, politicking. And many organizations are filled with it. Many families are filled with it. Many marriages are filled with it.

Our most constant relationships, like marriage, require our most constant deposits. With continuing expectations, old deposits evaporate. If you suddenly run into an old high school friend you haven’t seen for years, you can pick up right where you left off because the earlier deposits are still there. But your accounts with the people you interact with on a regular basis require more constant investment. There are sometimes automatic withdrawals in your daily interactions or in their perception of you that you don’t even know about.”

Personal comments:

Unfortunately, many employees I’ve talked with over the years had their Emotional Bank Accounts depleted, demonstrated by their lack of trust, absenteeism, low productivity, back-biting, lying (CYA), anxiety, depression, and short-temperedness. Many were excellent workers, but were resigned to, “just getting by”. What a waste of talent! So-called managers spent more time butt-kissing their bosses than treating their employees with respect, courtesy, support, appreciation, understanding, and open communication.

Next: Habit 4
Think Win-Win
Six Major Deposits