Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling by Edgar H. Schein

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Communication is essential in a healthy organization. But all too often when we interact with people—especially those who report to us—we simply tell them what we think they need to know. This shuts them down. To generate bold new ideas, to avoid disastrous mistakes, to develop agility and flexibility, we need to practice Humble Inquiry.

Ed 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, Schein contrasts Humble Inquiry with other kinds of inquiry, shows the benefits Humble Inquiry provides in many different settings, and offers advice on overcoming the cultural, organizational, and psychological barriers that keep us from practicing it.

Title : Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1609949811
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 144 pages


Philippe rated it ★★★★★

November 16, 2014

I am getting more and more convinced that big, systemic change takes root in conscious but modest shifts in behaviour and thought. The argument developed in this short book confirms this: asking the right questions, from an authentic attitude of respect and curiosity, is the basis for building tr...

Ajit rated it ★★★★☆

December 28, 2016

I have finished reading first four chapters. Really impressive and practical. As rightly pointed out in the book, we are accustomed to the culture of telling. Teamwork based on Inquiry -- specifically, Humble Inquiry, is difficult, but well worth the effort, especially if you're in a leadership p...

Lê rated it ★★☆☆☆

October 01, 2014

The idea is great and insightful. However, that could be easily covered by one chapter, not the whole book. The author repeat himself quite a lot.

Jerry rated it ★★★★☆

January 21, 2014

Relationships grow when people learn about and appreciate each other. I believe that many of us can benefit from being very intentional about reaching out and getting to know each other in our work places, communities and even families. Edgar H. Schein in his new book: Humble Inquiry: the Gentle...

Andy rated it ★★★☆☆

January 01, 2018

Mish-mash of advice that can be found in many other books I’ve read so I found it boring. What the author says isn’t wrong (“be humble”) but I worry that he omits things that are based on more solid evidence than his anecdotal experiences. For instance, he talks a lot about OR teams. I think that...

Sally rated it ★★★☆☆

December 06, 2014

The value of asking questions based in genuine curiosity and interest (rather than telling people what you think) in building relationships, particularly for the person with higher status in the relationship. The author was a business school professor and a consultant, and the work is addressed t...

Shawna rated it ★★★★☆

July 11, 2016

I read this for a professional development seminar. It was really interesting and made me think about a lot of my interactions as a manager and as a coworker. I think a lot of time we do not want to find the root of the problem instead we want to offer a quick fix solution, but without addressing...

Kristian rated it ★★★★☆

February 15, 2014

How to be curious and humbly ask questions. A very humanistic approach on how to treat others, that also points to the need to show others that you are vulnerable, in order to build trust. Ends with a great chapter on how to develop an attitude of humble inquiry. A short, concise and recommended...

Ralf rated it ★★★★☆

January 30, 2017

It's impressive on how the right type of inquiry can make such a difference. Really enjoyed reading it. So much great insights on so many levels.

Shevon rated it ★★★★★

October 25, 2017

Edgar H. Schein encourages leaders to “...create the climate that gives permission for the help to be given” as expressed by “drawing someone out [and] asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.” I a...

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