Nothing happens if we don't talk to each other. We talk all the time. We haven't known before is how very powerful conversations can be - conversations can change your DNA. The FOX2 gene, the gene that enables us to connect with our world, is impacted by our experience. It can 'remember' if we felt fear or if we were excited and creative. These experiences can be created through conversations.
Key to building trust is Transparency. If you most often function with a 'need to know' attitude then you are creating an opaque environment for many around you. If you often put a 'good face' on things so you don't rock the boat, you are creating a cloudy environment for those who work with you. The truth is people DO know when things have an emotional charge, but they may not always read those signals correctly. By asking, "How do you feel about this?" folks are trying to clarify the signals they are getting. We are conditioned and even expected to cover up those moments so others won't feel uncomfortable and we are spared from revealing our truth.
The common response to these types of situations is the complicit, "Great, just checking." as we enable each other to hide reality. The trouble with this is that, while it smoothes things over and we can get on with it, it also creates a climate of distrust because we all know something is being hidden, we just are not sure of what that might be. Not knowing creates distrust.
When we experience distrust our brain is flooded with higher levels of cortisol, which closes down our brain and our willingness to be in relationship with others. We feel we have to protect ourself by playing small, hiding in the background, and keeping our views and ideas to ourself. When we make others feel excluded, judged, or criticized we stimulate the release of cortisol in the brains of the people we are talking to. This changes their focus from tasks and problem solving to self protection. It can make it hard for people to even remember what was said, as they were preoccupied with self protective thoughts.
The good news is that is very possible to shift these kinds of conversations to ones that do just the opposite. Conversations that enable us to work as partners by stimulating the release of oxytocin which creates higher levels of bonding and mutual success. Appreciation, inclusion (transparency), and empathy all bring out the best in us. Working to create increased skill levels of Conversational Intelligence® is one very good way of improving your results.
Kathryn Alexander, MA: futurist, speaker, author CIQ coach, her systems thinking approach to values and ethics enables deep change by impactful leaders.