Social capital consists of the stock of active connections among people: the trust, mutual
understanding, and shared values and behaviors that bind the members of human networks and
communities and make cooperative action possible.
Social capital makes an organization, or any cooperative group, more than a collection of
individuals intent on achieving their own private purposes. Social capital bridges the space
between people. Its characteristic elements and indicators include high levels of trust, robust
personal networks and vibrant communities, shared understandings, and a sense of equitable
participation in a joint enterprise – all things that draw individuals together into a group. This
kind of connection supports collaboration, commitment, ready access to knowledge and talent,
and coherent organizational behavior. This description of social capital suggests appropriate
organizational investments – namely, giving people space and time to connect, demonstrating
trust, effectively communicating aims and beliefs, and offering equitable opportunities and
rewards that invite genuine participation, not mere presence.
Adapted from The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership by James C. Hunt
Maintaining Relational Accounts
The relational account metaphor teaches us the importance of keeping healthy relationship balances with the significant people in our lives, including those with whom we work. Simply put, when we meet a person for the first time, we basically (should) have a neutral relationship account balance because we don’t know one another, we’re still testing the waters. As the relationship matures, however, we make deposits and withdrawals in these imaginary accounts based on how we behave. For example, we make deposits into these accounts by being trustworthy and honest, giving people appreciation and recognition, keeping our word, being good listeners, not talking behind other people’s backs, using the simple courtesies of hello, please, thank you, I’m sorry, and so on. We make withdrawals by being unkind, discourteous, breaking our promises and commitments, backstabbing others, being poor listeners, being puffed up and arrogant, and so on.
Adapted from The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership by James C. Hunt http://www.amazon.com/Servant-Simple-Story-Essence-Leadership/dp/0761513698