Humility in a World of “Know it All” Leaders
Do you come across as having all the answers?
Does your drive for perfection limit engagement?
Too often in western businesses, when challenging issues emerge, leaders argue for their point of view, offer quick solutions to problems, take a stand to influence, or talk at each other. Many leaders who advocate for their own point of view discourage real conversation to inspire creative thinking, problem solving and dialogue. Innolect, a leader in offering the most current listening research, assessment tools, products and training, understands how listening leaders are critical to the sustainability of successful businesses.
It is also why Edgar Schein’s book, Humble Inquiry (one of our top reads for 2014), captured our attention. He positions humble inquiry as the fine art of:
– Drawing people out and building relationships based on curiosity.
– Demonstrating genuine interest in another person.
– Asking the “right” questions to which you do not know the answer.
Schein reinforces that one person can’t know it all. In fact, according to IBM, knowledge doubles every 12 hours. As leaders rise in organizations and the issues become more complex, they recognize that no one individual can “know all the answers.” The most viable solutions come from informed, committed individuals who think together to arrive at new insights. Leaders rely on the collective minds of their teams. And, effective leaders know how to engage others, seek understanding about what others think, and balance advocacy and inquiry skills. They:
– Lay out their reasoning and thinking,
– Encourage others to challenge their ideas,
– Listen to what others have to say, and then
– Ask questions to test their assumptions and understanding.
Listening leaders are humble when they empower others and create a temporary state of dependence on others for their success. Take a moment to ask: Are you relying on team members for your success or are you merely giving lip-service to your willingness to ask for help? There is a profound difference. With information doubling so quickly, effective leaders exchange perceived power for humble inquiry…listening and learning from others.
“Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”
– Steven Covey
Use Innolect’s Advocacy and Inquiry Skills Inventory (AISI) to learn your tendencies as a communicator. The AISI includes a 20 item questionnaire for quick scoring, preference measurement grid, and interpretive guide to provide immediate feedback on your preferences for using advocacy and inquiry communication skills. You can order the AISI from our website here.
You can also download our FREE Tips for Asking Effective Questions to enhance your leadership skills immediately. To learn more about how Innolect can help grow your organization, contact Kittie Watson at KittieW@innolectinc.com.