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

word smart

Written by: on September 21, 2018

Judith E. Glaser presented some information in her book Conversational Intelligence that has the potential to change the way leaders think about each of their interactions. Glaser’s defines Conversational Intelligence is the ability to connect, navigate and grow with others. It gives us the ability to influence the interactions we find ourselves in the every day moments of our lives.


What Glaser does that separates her from other who talk about “language is important” is how she incorporates other fields of research into her study. DNA is Plastic. Transcription DNA is hardwired, but some DNA can be activated and deactivated. Even conversations can cause the brain to activate certain areas of our brain and can even begin to activate some parts of our DNA. Glaser even is technical enough to tell us that Langauge is a “FOX p2 Regulatory gene.” Whatever that means!


This book follows suit with a lot of the reading this semester and a larger trend of emotional and relational intelligence that the business world is becoming more and more congruent. It is very similar to what Edwin Freidman writes about in his book A Failure of Nerve, which is a book we will be reading later this semester. I’m also reminded of what the famed Stephen Covey writes about says, “A person has integrity when there is no gap between intent and behavior…when he or she is whole, seamless, the same—inside and out. I call this “congruence.” And it is congruence—not compliance—that will ultimately create credibility and trust.”[1] There is a common thread here!


In fact I think I would go as far to say that, this book Conversational Intelligence could almost be a sequel of Steven Covey’s book The Speed of Trust. Covey definitively says about trust,


“There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world—one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love. On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet, it is the least understood, most neglected, and most underestimated possibility of our time. That one thing is trust.” 


Covey proves the importance of trust, and Glaser thoroughly explains the technique of conversations which can reinforce trust building.


My big takeaway from this book was the explanation and the breakdown with diagrams of the concept of trust. Glaser explained how growing trust can actually shape and change our perceived reality. When we have built trust with a human that we are connecting, navigating or growing with it affects how they interpret all of our behaviors. The same information could be shared but when it comes from a untrustworthy individual or someone who has not built rapport, or has not shown empathy in listening, then the content of language will be met with resistance and skepticism. If trust is present though, even negative statements can be met with a, “wow pastor, thank you so much for telling me.”


A leader can only lead at the speed of trust. How much trust does your character convey into people. Steven Covey says, ““The first job of a leader—at work or at home—is to inspire trust. It’s to bring out the best in people by entrusting them with meaningful stewardships, and to create an environment in which high-trust interaction inspires creativity and possibility.”[2]


In my ministry work this summer, I worked with a few dozen students who were transitioning from the closure of the Sacramento satellite campus of Northwest University. I was to assist them into transferring into a new program, however I often found that many who are choosing to move slowly or be non-committal in conversation they have had a “wait a see” sort of attitude. In reality I see them already distrustful because of a previous situation that happened with the school and this has made them skeptical of my voice coming from the higher education seat. Of Glaser’s five point on the spectrum of Change versus reality I can point to some students who have reacted within each of the five elements. Resistor, Skeptic, Wait & see, experimenter, co-creator. Very few have had the co-creator attitude, and most have had the experimenter mind set. To those who fall toward the left and orangish side of the spectrum, I wonder how I could have handled these conversations differently.


Personally I think I often stumble because I move too fast. I see the route to solve the problem and I describe how we should get there. This topic might be easy to shrug off for some ministers, thinking they are good with people since they are in ministry. But when considering a recent report from Barna, dealing with people problems is the highest rate problem that ministers wish they were better prepared. I think I will always wish I was better prepared for this, because I will always have problems with people. In light of this, we should consider that we may not be as good at interpersonal relationships as we initially thought. Because of this, I think many pastors would benefit from studying and being intentional on practicing conversational intelligence. Even just understanding that every interaction will either build trust with the person or cause resistance and suspicion is a great step forward in conversational intelligence.


Furthermore, beyond just dealing with personal problems that church members have and staff will have with each other. This has incredible leadership implications. Of course, every time we lead we are using language. But using Glaser’s conversational intelligence concept, we can see that people need the opportunity to engage and the opportunity to chose to resist or trust, if they are to fully buy into a conversation. Glaser says, ““Reframe: To put Conversational Intelligence to work, stop thinking of your job as managing resistance and instead accept resistance as a natural part of change. People need to challenge new ideas before they can accept them. For full ownership and accountability to take place, people need to be in the conversation about how to change rather than being asked to merely comply. When leaders reframe in this way, they see that conversations release new energy for change—which will propel their efforts forward faster.”








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[1] Covey, Stephen M. R., and Rebecca R Merrill. The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. New York, N.Y.: Free Press, 2006.

[2] Covey, Stephen M. R., and Rebecca R Merrill. The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. New York, N.Y.: Free Press, 2006.

About the Author

Kyle Chalko

5 responses to “word smart”

  1. Good point, Kyle!

    You mention that, “DNA is Plastic. Transcription DNA is hardwired, but some DNA can be activated and deactivated.” We’ve been taught from an early age that our convictions are static and unmovable. However, Glasser delves into the concept of the nature vs. nurture debate and reveals that part of our DNA is trainable if we are willing to be shaped.

    I loved your statement, “A leader can only lead at the speed of trust. How much trust does your character convey into people.” It’s been said that, You cannot lead people unless they trust you. This is why trust is the crux of our level of influence. How can organizations facilitate an environment of trust while moving forward with change?

  2. M Webb says:

    While I agree with Covey’s position on “trust” my experience and Scriptural discernment says there are many scenarios and contexts when we should verify. Why? Because we continue to live in a fallen world with sin-filled people who are influenced by the devil and his evil schemes daily.
    When I was in law enforcement we used humor of all sorts to help contextualize the relationships and communications we had with suspects, victims, and citizens. “When their lips are moving, they are lying” was the norm for many of the interactions I had with people.
    “So, there was a cop and a preacher walk into a crowded bar and everyone stopped talking and just stared at them. Who do you think they would they lie to the most?”
    Trust but verify- Stand firm,
    M. Webb

  3. Dan Kreiss says:

    Well done Kyle. I particularly appreciated your introspection as it regards to your desire to move quickly once a problem has been identified. Responding in this way will frequently cause others to feel unheard and create defensiveness in them. How do you hope to apply C-IQ in future endeavors now that you have an understanding of what could change for you?

  4. Shawn Hart says:

    Kyle, I appreciate the “trust” factor that you brought this week; I have seen far too many leaders that are so caught up in the job, that they forget about who is following. I had a buddy in college that was a super nice guy, but when he was teaching, he just did his “job”. When he was about to get his first teaching job, I asked him…practically begged him… “Rob, please do not teach high school in the beginning.” I could see that he was great with little kids, but he showed zero respect to the older ones. Well, Rob did not listen, and exactly 3 months into his very first “High School” teaching position, the school paid him $30,000 to cancel his contract because of how bad his communication skills were. We have churches today where the preacher talks at, instead of talks to, the congregation; they just do not understand that there is relationship in the leading….and as you have pointed out, there has to be trust in forming that relationship.

    Good job

  5. Chris Pritchett says:

    Great work synthesizing this with the other material from the semester. I especially appreciated the connection with Friedman. Failure of Nerve is so good!

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