Edgar Schein and Peter Schein: Humble Inquiry
Edgar Schein is Professor Emeritus of MIT's Sloan School of Management. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Practitioner Award from the Academy of Management, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Leadership Association, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in Organization Development from the International OD Network.
Peter Schein is COO of the Organizational Culture and Leadership Institute. He provides counsel to senior management on organizational development challenges facing private and public sector entities worldwide. He is a contributing author to the 5th edition of Organizational Culture and Leadership and co-author of Humble Leadership and The Corporate Culture Survival Guide.
The pair co-founded the Organizational Culture and Leadership Institute and have written several books together, including two in the Humble Leadership series. They’ve recently released the second edition of Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling*.
In this conversation, Edgar, Peter, and I explore the four relationship levels and invite leaders to move professional relationships from level 1 to level 2. A key entry point for this is to artfully reveal some of the things we tend to conceal. We discuss some practical steps to take — and the benefit for leaders and organizations.
The four relationship levels:
- Level –1: Domination/exploitation
- Level 1: Transactional (professional distance)
- Level 2: Personal (openness and trust)
- Level 3: Intimacy
- We all conceal things. A useful way to build a relationship is for people to open up more of their concealed selves.
- A relationship is dance — improv if you will. We need to be willing to share the mic with the other party.
- Open-ended questions like, “What’s different today?” can help people to show up in the way they want to.
- Traditionally, we expected the person with more status to take the first step. That doesn’t necessarily need to be the case.
- Notice your own motivations, interventions, and contributions to the relationship.
- Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling* by Edgar Schein and Peter Schein
- The Organizational Culture and Leadership Institute
Download my interview notes in PDF format (free membership required).
- The Path of Humble Leadership, with Edgar Schein and Peter Schein (episode 363)
- How to Ask Better Questions, with David Marquet (episode 454)
- Your Leadership Motive, with Patrick Lencioni (episode 505)
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