by Judith E. Glaser
We’re better when we’re connected!
Even though technologies enable us to dissolve boundaries of space and time and connect us in exciting ways, we still face the same old challenge: to dissolve boundaries among colleagues, to build trust, and to engage our people.
WE-centric leaders lift people out of fear, frustration, and anger, the emotions that cause people to disengage from each other. WE-centric leaders create a culture of connection, which engages people in living the organization’s highest values and most aspirational vision.
When people feel disconnected, they become reactive, project their anxiety onto others, create more fear, blame others for what is missing in their lives, reject first to avoid being rejected, and disengage. When colleagues work in concert, they learn from each other, develop higher-level skills and wisdom, meet performance goals, and turn breakdowns into breakthroughs.
Conversational Intelligence is our most powerful and human and hardwired skill of connecting with others through conversations. When leaders turn to each other to draw out our best thinking and translate that into action, we are exercising our Conversational Intelligence. When leaders engage with others, value their suggestions, and inspire new thinking, they create a community that looks forward to co-create the future.
Take a 3D View of Conversations
Conversations have three dimensions — they are biochemical, relational and co-creational. Learn to manage these Three Dimensions (3D) and you will transform your world:
- First Dimension: Biochemical
Learn to manage your own bio-reactions. When we are frustrated with others we get agitated which stimulates cortisol, a fear hormone. The more we project our negative and judgmental feelings toward others they more they become debilitated and are unable to engage in a healthy conversation about how to make things better. Our frustration may show up as bullying, intimidating, and micromanaging. These may help us release our anger or disappointment but it doesn’t get results. Manage your negative emotions and make a leadershift into inspiring others to higher performance.
2: Second Dimension: Relational
Human beings have needs and aspirations. Needs are what we need from each other to feel good about my life and ourselves – we need respect, trust, support, caring and candor. Aspirations are what propel me forward – they are what trigger growth. I aspire to be a leader; I aspire to be a doctor. My aspirations are how I see myself in the future and its more than just about me — it’s also about “we.”
When we connect with others at the relational level we become part of a powerful growth system where we are able to support each other’s next steps and honor each other’s identity. When we have a strong relationship with others and validate each other’s needs and aspirations, our chemistry shifts in to a very positive reinforcing cycle that triggers our ability to handle difficult challenges with greater courage. This builds mutually beneficial healthy relationships.
3: Third Dimension: Co-creational
Focus on having Co-creating Conversations®
Co-creating Conversations are designed to enable you and others to join together to create a new reality. Learning to let go of the past and focus on the future with others will be a powerful dimension to empower you and others. When you are co-creating, you are connecting around what success looks like – mutual success.
Many times we get “addicted to being right” and we get so empowered by our own ideas that we drive toward our own success. When we are addicted to being right, we are producing dopamine, which is a “feel good” hormone and we lose sight of the person right in front of us. Learn to put your ego behind you — what matters less is what “I” can do, and what matters more is “we can do together.” Conversations are “WE-centric” and they affirm the power of what we can co-create.
Mastering the Three Dimensions (3D) changes everything. Your ability to lead will increase exponentially, along with enhancing your ability to create inspiring environments where people work together for mutual gain, growth, and understanding.
Rather than getting agitated by and tangled up in conversations about blame, fear, and frustrations about what is not happening at work, you establish a positive context for transformation by engaging people in ongoing conversations about what has, can, and will work to create a transformation. In doing so, you focus on what needs to happen to address the challenges and, with that focus and commitment, you develop into the best company possible. Rather than trying to fix the past, or dwell on it, you focus on bringing lessons from the past forward into creating the future with others.
The Power of Conversational Intelligence
Activating your hardwired ability for powerful and transformational conversations is one of the most important competencies of a leader. Knowing how to activate this ability will enable you to shape the mindsets and experiences people have at work by reducing fear and inner focus and creating cultures that facilitate enhanced sensitivity, mutual support, vital communication, and engagement in the strategy.
Judith E. Glaser, CEO Benchmark Communications, Inc. & Chairman of the Creating WE Institute; Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results by Judith E. Glaser (BiblioMotion – Forthcoming October 2013; Pre-order now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble)