The Emotional Paycheck

In one of my LinkedIn groups the question was asked, by David R Frick, “Emotional paychecks are often more valued than financial ones. How do you calculate the emotional value and how often do you pay them?” Good question don’t you think?

Gallup has conducted a number of surveys that demonstrate that beyond a certain income, our baseline of happiness does not increase.  They are also known for their employee engagement work. They have demonstrated that there are strong correlations between what could be called emotional elements of a job and productivity.  Emotional elements such as:

–    The relationship with my boss
–    Someone who cares about me at work
–    Recognition and Praise
–    My Opinion and Feedback matter

Dale Carnegie has also published some work here, that demonstrates similar findings. The three key drivers they identified were:

–    Relationship with Immediate Supervisor
–    Belief in Senior Leadership
–    Pride in working for the company

So back to Frick’s question, “Emotional paychecks are often more valued than financial ones. How do you calculate the emotional value and how often do you pay them?” One part of this question stands out for me. How do you calculate emotional value? How is that for a fuzzy question? I mean what is emotional value?

I think back to Steven Covey and his book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In it he speaks of the emotional bank account. We can make deposits to our colleague’s emotional accounts through behaviors such as recognizing their contribution and soliciting their input in a project. We also make withdrawals through behaviors such as dismissing ideas, or exhibiting less than trustworthy behavior. The impact of these emotional accounts is in how our colleagues respond to our initiatives and or our mistakes.

If you and I have well funded emotional bank accounts with each other we can tolerate the inevitable mistakes. We are also open to creative ideas that may lead to industry changing innovation. Where as if our emotional accounts are overdrawn there is not a lot of free movement and the “job” may get done but will it be the best that can be delivered.

Different people are driven to a greater or lesser degree by these emotional elements. Some really thrive on praise, others want to be contributors and still others it is the friendship at work. As a leader can you identify that important element for each of your people and make the deposits that will improve the value of your organization for everyone.

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