Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Tools for Higher C-IQ

Written by: on September 20, 2018

Judith Glaser’s “Conversational Intelligence,” otherwise referred to as “C-IQ” is another tool for interpersonal development, in this case, largely for the purpose of corporate effectiveness. Glaser understands the power of the culture of an organization, particularly how people relate to one another in effective and ineffective ways. She offers her readers some practical ways in which leaders can easily implement a few simple intentional practices that will bring significant change for the effectiveness of the organization, especially as it relates to innovation and creativity. Glaser suggests two intentional practices: listening without being judgmental and asking questions for which you do not know the answer. These two practices, she suggests, have been implemented with great success.

Glaser’s work is based on neurological research, where she has come to understand the effect of trust and fear/distrust on the brain and how that causes us to respond to one another in conversation or group settings. When there is a deep sense of trust between two people, they are able to activate the neocortex (prefrontal) where she says trust “lives,” and she suggests that cortisol is produced, which gives positive and happy feelings. In this space, creativity is able to be accessed and innovation can occur. But when there is mistrust, people revert to the amygdala, where we experience our fight, flight, or flee mode. Fear causes the conversation to shut and people put up their guards. Creativity and innovation cannot happen in this kind of space. So, Glaser wants to know, how do leaders foster environments of trust, and particularly how can leaders increase their competency to do so. In other words, how can leaders, or mothers or fathers, or teachers or counselors, increase their “C-IQ.” Glaser suggest that we can in fact develop conversational intelligence. One is not necessarily born with a C-IQ that is fixed and immovable. However, clearly as adults some have already developed intuitively the practices that she suggests, and therefore some have higher levels of conversational intelligence than others.

Glaser offers five values that she suggests leaders need to foster in their organization:

  1. Transparency – It is important that people are open about their felt need for change.
  2. Relationship – The importance of learning from one another
  3. Understanding – The importance of going deeper, through questions, to get underneath what is being communicated.
  4. Shared Success – The importance of finding common ground
  5. Truth-telling – The importance of defining reality.

As three families are working together to build a mission-oriented foundation, which requires a high level of creativity and innovation, I have already recognized some of the anxiety that Glaser describes as fear which causes us to operate from the amygdala. I recognize the critical importance of shaping the culture of our organization well as it takes shape. There are several anxiety-oriented people in the group who likely have lower than average C-IQ levels than average, and I am finding weakness in my conversational intelligence as well. It gives me a deeper understanding of the neuroscience and an ability to even recognize what part of my brain is active in the moment. I prefer the prefrontal cortex. J

About the Author

Chris Pritchett

5 responses to “Tools for Higher C-IQ”

  1. Great post, Chris. I actually feel like understanding the science behind what is going on in my brain might help me be better at navigating difficult conversations. It made me feel empowered. Like you, I prefer the frontal cortex, but that old reptilian brain is still in there having its say, and driving most of our decisions. The hard part for me is slowing down long enough to let the frontal cortex catch up and get in the conversation. I think if I start to pay attention to my own bodily reactions, I might be able to do just that.

  2. Chris,

    That was a very discreetly worded post. 😉

    Isn’t it interesting that many of us in ministry are able to have compassion and bear with difficult people in churches? We put on our professional demeanour and listen before judging, refrain from reacting, etc. But with our own families, we often tend to lose that patience. I think we so easily just slip into those old patterns we’ve learned so well in our family of origin, and failing to do the work required to minister well in the family context. You know how I’m praying for you as your ministry context has significantly changed, and your family is now your mission field.

  3. Jason Turbeville says:

    You are in a great position to make a serious impact in the lives of not only those the foundation helps but the lives of those families who are working with you. Great insight into our reading this week.

    See you in HK brother.


  4. Dan Kreiss says:

    Glad you are able to find immediate application of this book to your new ministry context. I wonder how you intend to apply some of the content personally as well as within the team environment. I would be interested to hear how the development of C-IQ in your group enhances the team dynamic and empowers the group to develop effective ministry in this new context.

  5. Trisha Welstad says:

    Chris, thanks for giving a quick summary and sharing how this applies to your context. Have you found certain parts of Glaser’s text that you want to apply more than others? Also, do you think it would be helpful to bring this text to your team as you lead them (would they receive it well)? I saw that she did a whole training video for the Gates foundation that is on Youtube. I think it’s a lot to take in but some exercises (maybe even discretely done) could be formative.

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