An assignment recently got me interested in something called the Law of Reciprocity. No—this is not Physics class or any other Science-related course. The Law of Reciprocity actually goes by many names. Others call it an emotional bank account. One of my favorite writers of all time, Paulo Coelho, describes it as the favor bank.
But what exactly is this Law of Reciprocity, you ask?
This law goes far back as early as kindergarten for most people. It’s the “I’ll be your friend if you’ll be mine” strategy (How crafty kids can be…!). And for others, it transcends into the “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” trick (Oh, hormonal teenagers!). Despite my limited and rather simple demonstrations, The Law of Reciprocity is actually alive and present in many, different situations.
The workplace, for one, is the perfect place to exercise the Law of Reciprocity. Take note: This law does not translate into “I’ll do your paperwork if you do mine.” It is something deeper and more reliable than that. Exercising the Law of Reciprocity helps build up relationships with colleagues and even bosses. It’s a give and take kind of thing that allows people to better work with others and themselves. When you help someone out or create opportunities for mutual advancement, you are indirectly showing others that you are not a power-hungry, promotion-junkie employee.
Instead, you are giving off the impression that you are a successful person in your own right. This actually makes you more approachable and mature. This makes others feel that they can rely and trust you. And if you give your superiors this impression… Well, that is a very good thing indeed.