After writing discipline defining works in the area of organizational dynamic, culture, and social psychology and a 48 year career as an instructor at MIT, Edgar Schein has written a little book simply titled Humble Inquiry. He defines humble inquiry as, “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.” His reason for using the word humble? Humility…refers to granting someone else a higher status than one claims for oneself.” The power of inquiry rests on the temporary empowerment of the other person which at the same time makes the inquirer. It is an admission that I don’t know everything there is to know. It celebrates dependence on the other whereas “telling puts the other person down. It implies that the other person does not already know what I am telling and that the other person ought to know.” So I am going to point out their deficiencies.
You’ve heard it here before – Ask (humbly), Don’t Tell.