Book Notes : Humble Inquiry

Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling by Edgar H. Schein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The book introduces three types of humility basic humility – the status in society you are born with, optional humility – the way we feel when in the presence of someone who has done great thing and here-and-now humility – when you are dependent on someone else. The humble inquiry comes from a place of interest and curiosity with here-and-now humility, this maximises the interest in the other person and minimises bias and preconceptions.

The book talks about espoused values, the values which we openly talk about e.g freedom, equality, etc, however these are sometimes in contradiction to tacit assumptions which are the values which are actually in action, e.g. poor education, discrimination. The problem with the humble inquiry is that cultures which value task accomplishment over relationship building and telling over discussing means there are cultural forces working against it.

The Johari Window contains four sections:

  • Open Self – things we know about our self and others know too
  • Concealed Self – things we know about our self but we hide from others
  • Blind Self – things we don’t know about our self but others know
  • Unknown Self – things which are known neither by our self nor by others

Through the use of the Humble Inquiry we can expand the amount of Open Self which a person feels confident to display, reducing the Concealed Self.

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