The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Shifting dynamics in our communication

When defensiveness appears or when communication slows down we’ll often hear claims to trust each other or requests for more transparency.

Both are useful.

And there is more to it.

Communication is based on reciprocity. It uses an inbuilt dynamic based on four values: trust, reliability, openness, and transparency.

When we connect with one of these values we trigger reciprocity and shift the way we communicate with each other.

Transparency is a value we use to proactively share information useful for others. It is also the posture we use when being asked for information. It doesn’t mean to share everything. It means the willingness to make information accessible.

It does sometimes need openness. May it be to share information which isn’t comfortable to share. Or may it be to ask for information which isn’t comfortable to ask for or to hear. Vulnerability is built into openness.

Trust is triggered by openness. Someone who is able to be open about information he doesn’t have or to share problems he experienced enables this same posture in others. It creates a culture which doesn’t require perfection. One in which it becomes possible to learn from errors and failures instead of being blamed for them. And as it becomes possible to share problems, members of such a culture will trust that no one is hiding problems.

Reliability ties in there. As people trust each other people want to be reliable towards each other. To do so, they decide to be transparent towards each other and share the status of their work openly. Such openness can sometimes help others to see when there is an overlap in their work. Or it might create visibility on something missing in the work the person is describing. Embracing such information will again trigger trust.

There are many ways these values can depend on each other or cause each other. It either creates a downward or an upward spiral of trust. Knowing the dynamic makes it transformable.



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