Bank of Relational Equity and Trust

Over the years, we’ve talked to leaders about building trust and why it is essential for the long-term health of any organization.  But how is trust actually built, or should we say developed, between individuals, teams, and in corporate families? Interestingly enough, this process is similar to the way people bank money, but instead of currency, trust involves what LEADon refers to as “Relational Equity.”

Relational Equity is value that you develop with others in your life, personally as well as professionally.  So from the very start of any relationship, you begin to make “deposits” into your interpersonal “relationship” account.  When those deposits are positive, they will also be productive, and you will begin to build up equity that both of you can depend upon to use in your present and future relationship.

There is good news and bad news when it comes to Relational Equity. Here are three facts for you to understand:

  1. Personal Relational Equity: You need to intentionally work on being committed to the people in your life.  Whether clients, colleagues, friends, or family members, people need consistent positive and productive interactions to keep your interpersonal relationships thriving.  This phenomenon is just the way human beings roll!
  1. Interpersonal Relational Equity: Other people in your life should be working toward connecting and being strongly committed to you too, but this won’t always be the case.  You will have to be proactive with these people or equity in general can be negatively impacted. It’s always best for you to let people in your life know, in a positive way, exactly what you need from them. Those worthy of your relationship will receive those expectations and will reciprocate accordingly so you can conduct your relationship in ways that will build interpersonal equity.
  1. Tough Times and Relational Equity: There will always be seasons in your life when your interpersonal relationships are challenged. That’s simply part of the cycle of life. This is when you need to be able to look at the equity that has been developed and determine whether or not you’ll be able to make it through the time of hardship.  For newer relationships, this might be trickier to negotiate. Even long-term relationships can be challenging if there is limited equity saved up in the bank.

This last concept is especially important in modern culture where some tend to have a throw away attitude when it comes to many aspects of life.  After all, can’t new relationships be formed easily if something goes wrong?

The answer to that question depends on how you feel about the concept of equity.  Sure, sometimes individuals, teams, and corporate families have to cut their losses and move on.  If, however, enough equity has been developed in your relationships, tough times can be endured and a season of challenge will soon be restored to one of great promise.

Remember, building trust takes time and intentional effort—by you and by everyone involved in the relationship.  We’d like to encourage you to spend time considering this essential aspect of relational investment because it will indeed be something you can bank on in every area of your life!

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