inviting engagement 

situational humility

Inviting participation in a way that people find compelling and genuine is critical. Given that self-protection is natural, a leader who adopts a humble, learning mindset that acknowledges your errors, shortcomings sends a strong invitation to engage and bring voice.

“Instead of people losing confidence, they actually gain confidence in you when you admit you don’t know something.”  -- Anne Mulcahy, Chair and CEO of Xerox, known as “Master of I Don’t Know.” This creates space for others to step up and engage.


“I don't know,”

“I may miss something; I need to hear from you.”

proactive inquiry

Inquiry is purposeful probing.

Rules of thumb for asking a good question:

  • You don’t know the answer

  • The question does not limit responses to Yes or No

  • Phrased in a way that helps others share their thinking in a focused way


“What do we need to create a work environment of care and respect? “

“What might we be missing?”

“What other ideas could we generate?”

“Who has a different perspective?”

“What leads you to think so?”

“Can you give me an example?”

“What did the dissenter say?”