by Judith E. Glaser
The key is to use your conversational intelligence (C-IQ)—your capacity to connect—to recognize social and psychological needs and translate this awareness into conversations that meet these needs. Here are five steps you can take now:
Step 1. Acknowledge people’s social and psychological needs. Our needs are sources of energy, motivation and engagement. Create a culture where people can meet the following seven needs:
- Inclusion and belonging: we need to feel included and connected and in supportive relationships with others and be included in decisions that affect our job;
- Appreciation and recognition: we need to be appreciated for our gifts, talents, and achievements and to recognize and appreciate others;
- Challenge and achievement: we need to feel challenged to take risks and achieve results;
- Trust and accountability: we need to feel that we can count on others to be fair and honest, clarify expectations, and be held accountable for results;
- Growth and learning: we need to work where we can learn, grow and develop our skills and talents and contribute to organizational goals;
- Power and control: we need to influence the results and actions we are accountable for; and
- Meaning and purpose: we need to know that our work adds value, has meaning, and is part of something bigger than we are alone.
Step 2: Model self-responsibility for meeting needs. Cultivate a culture of self-responsibility by expressing direct and timely feedback to others when their behavior detracts from your needs being met and by making clear requests regarding actions that they can take to better meet your needs. Also, asking them for feedback on whether your behavior is meeting their needs; if not, ask what needs are not being met and what actions they’d like you to take to better meet these needs.
Step 3: Offer and accept support for identifying and meeting your needs. We often need help identifying our needs and support of others to meet them. As a leader, you can foster an environment in which people support each other in identifying and meeting their needs by offering support (asking someone who appears distressed what’s going on that they need help with) and accepting support when it is offered.
Step 4: Celebrate when needs are met. Nothing builds momentum for continuing to meet these needs than celebrating the actions that lead to these needs being met. Celebrate the meeting of a need, and you can expect this need to become increasingly met going forward; fail to celebrate the meeting of a need and you demoralize the person.
Step 5: Hire needs-intelligent employees. Some employees may arrive to work intent on creating a sense of inclusion and belonging, while others may arrive resigned that they’ll never feel included. Identify those needs you want to meet in your culture and then hire people who have a strong connection to these needs and embody a sense of self-responsibility for ensuring that these needs are met.
In Conversationally Intelligent cultures, people celebrate achievement often to meet their social and psychological needs in a healthy ways, resulting in higher morale and productivity.
Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is an Organizational Anthropologist, and consults to Fortune 500 Companies. Judith is the author of 4 best-selling business books, including her newest, Conversational Intelligence. Follow her @CreatingWe or connect with her on Facebook.