According to Judith Glaser, the CEO of Benchmark Communications and the author of the new book, Conversation Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results, the key to success in life and in work is to prime your brain for trust, mutual respect, and partnership.
Based on advances made in the neuroscience field over the last decade, Glaser’s framework involves understanding what kind of conversations trigger the lower, more primitive brain, and what kind activate higher-level intelligences such as integrity, empathy, and good judgment.
I asked Glaser for a few examples of how neuroscience affects the way we handle challenging workplace relationships and how we can leverage our brain’s natural tendencies to better these relationships, and here were her top tips.
Our Brains Are Designed to Be Social
The need to belong is more powerful than the need for safety. Rejection activates our fear networks and increases the levels of cortisol, which move us into protect behavior. Focus on being inclusive and using physical and verbal touch in order to reduce the level of cortisol and increase the level of oxytocin, which promotes bonding.
Appreciation Reshapes Neural Networks
Appreciation activates a large framework of neurons that are part of the functions of sight, hearing, and perspective. It enables us to see more broadly and think bigger. Better your relationships by focusing on appreciating others’ perspectives even if you don’t agree.
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