by Judith E. Glaser
When we feel we are gaining and not losing, we play as WE, according to Conversational Intelligence.™ This is the intelligence hardwired into every human being to enable us to navigate successfully with others through language. However, our fear is that someone else will get more. And the fear is always this: I’ll trust you and then what? You’ll stab me in the back?
Even though most of us value being considered a partner, the ability to work together interdependently is one of our least-developed skills. This skill is so vital that, in its absence, good leaders turn bad, good executives become ineffective, and good colleagues turn into adversaries. The skill of opening up to others—and of creating the emotional space for others to open up to us—requires deep trust. Trust is the most precious of the golden threads. Without it, there can be no WE.
When we open up to include partners outside of our conventional thinking, we encompass stakeholders and allies beyond the traditional boundaries of the enterprise—including vendors, customers, and donors. We expand the way we work and how we generate value. After all these years, we are starting to see how shifting boundaries—throwing the net wider—is a way to achieve alliances in a new way. With the golden thread of trust, we can weave our lives together like a beautiful tapestry.
WE-centric relationships are built on trust. I trust you will not harm me, and you trust I will not harm you. When we have that level of trust, we do not feel the need to duck into protective behaviors. We automatically assume a mutual support, and we move forward from there.