Humility is the New Smart: Why Leaders need to be Curious Rather Than Right

Know-it-all leaders are not effective in uncertainty and complexity.  Learn-it-all leaders thrive.

The most effective leaders today demonstrate intellectual humility: an open mind, continue to learn, build strong relationships and willing to experiment.  Leaders wrestle with questions where there are no simple answers. The only path to clarity is through curiosity and a growth mindset. 


Leaders who have true intellectual humility are confident and grounded in who they are.  They listen to others and promote a learning culture throughout the organization.  They understand that it may not be possible to use previous knowledge to solve today’s problems and that they will make mistakes.


Be curious, rather than right

Know that you have imperfect knowledge about the world

Expose yourself to different ideas and people

It’s impossible to predict specific events so it’s important to watch trends

Challenge thinking: yours and others

Read widely

Move past blame, shame, complain to ongoing learning


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