As I read page after page of Humble inquiry by Edgar H. Schein, I am guessing a bystander would have wondered what I was up to, with all that humming and hawing. Humming from recognition and having flashbacks to my own experiences, hawing from making mental notes of and agreeing with great aspects of humble inquiry.
Then I got to a question, that made me stop. Reflect. Ponder.
Making yourself vulnerable will elicit a more personal conversation, and through successive rounds of asking, telling, and acknowledging, trust and openness will build to the point where you can ask the difficult question, ”If I am about to make a mistake, will you tell me?”. You can then assess whether you have achieved the climate of psychological safety in which all of you will help each other and communicate openly. If it still feels uncomfortable, you can humbly ask, ”What do we need to do differently to get to that point of perpetual, mutual help?”.
Have I ever been humble enough to ask? Have I ever been humble enough to listen if someone told me I this?
Where have I ever been, that have a culture inductive to making such an ask? Have I?
(And yes, I have. But not in as many places and/or relationships as I would like to – so there’s room for improvement.)