Lesson 3.10

Spotting & Nurturing Intellectual Humility In Others

Dive into this topic by watching the video, then proceed to the key concepts below.


Key Concepts:


Even if you operate with a lot of Intellectual Humility, your team may not function well if others on it do not.

  • It pays to be able to identify people who are generally high in IH, and to be able to identify when someone is not operating with IH in the moment.

The easiest way to see if someone operates with IH is to see how they have reacted to things they don’t want to hear.

  • Debates, dissent, and pushback force a person to either act with IH or not.

  • Learning people’s stories—specifically about what they did when they received information that derailed them, or were faced with having to change their mind about something—can help you suss out how they generally operate.

  • In a job interview setting, you can just come out and ask questions, e.g.:

    • “What was a time when you were asked to change your mind about something you felt really confident about?“

    • “What was a time when you got heavy pushback on something you believed, or were promoting, and what did you do?”

  • Some people will think the “right” answer to these kinds of situations is to hold their ground or remove the obstacle—and sometimes that might be right—but the way they tell the story will give you clues about whether they operate out of stubbornness or an honest search for the right answers.

  • It’s also a useful type of scenario to suss out in reference checks with other people.

    • Ask people who’ve worked with them what they do when they are given tough feedback, what they do when they face obstacles, and how they deal with people who disagree with them.

    • This isn’t a perfect science, but the more you dig into the stories, the more you can suss out whether this is a person willing to fight for what’s right and willing to change, or if they’re just willing to fight (or not!).

Getting other people to operate with IH is hard, but it starts with education and example.

  • If you are working with a team mate who doesn’t behave with much IH, you have a choice to either help them or not.

  • By practicing the habits of good IH yourself, you can show them how powerful (and not scary) it is in your work.

  • You can also get them to take this course! :)

The hard truth is that sometimes a person’s lack of IH means they will only hold the team back.

  • We’ll talk about this more later in the course.