Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling
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We live, says Ed Schein, in a culture of Tell. Rather than trying to genuinely relate to other people we tell them what we think they need to know or should do based on assumptions we've made about them. But telling makes people feel inferior - it shuts them down. This is particularly true of interactions between superiors and subordinates, and that's where it's particularly problematic. In today's complex, interconnected, rapidly changing world hierarchy means nothing - anybody anywhere could have that vital fact or insight that could mean the difference between success or disaster. A free flow of information is crucial. Humble Inquiry builds the kinds of positive, trusting, balanced relationships that encourage honest and open interactions in both our professional and personal lives. Schein defines Humble Inquiry as 'the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.' In this seminal work he explores the concept of humility, looks at how Humble Inquiry differs from other kinds of inquiry, offers examples of Humble Inquiry in action in many different settings, and shows how to overcome the cultural, organizational and psychological barriers that keep us from practicing it. This is a major new contribution to how we see human dynamics and relationships, presented in a compact, personal, eminently practical way.