This is the Humble Inquiries series. In this episode, Leslie joins me as my co-host to humbly inquire into Hiring, engaging and retaining people – a huge challenge for leaders in the era of the great resignation and talent shortages.

In each episode of Humble Inquiries, we are deliberately going to put ourselves in the uncomfortable space of not knowing the answer and humbly inquiring about these challenges – with the aim to provoke new thoughts, actions, and practices – to help us better serve our coaching clients, and also to help the leader in you navigate the biggest challenges – at life and at work.

Show Notes

  • Leslie – “Everyone wants to be valued and to have a purpose in their work”
  • Sumit – “Communication is not only about what is being said. Communication is also about what is not being said, which needs to be said, and what is being said, but  which you are not hearing.”
  • Sumit – “Good leadership improves the productivity of those people you already have. Hiring is a challenge because there is more demand for work. But another way to address it rather than just adding more people is to increase the productivity and wellbeing of those whom you already have and good leadership skills, good listening skills, especially coaching as a skill for managers become very important.”
  • Leslie – “You can’t have the typical water cooler conversation that you may have had around the coffee pot in the morning. How do you create the space for that?”
  • Sumit – “People are also demanding fairness, honesty and transparency, and equal pay for equal work.”
  • Leslie – “It really is about creating space. Before you created that space physically, you created a lunchroom, you created a little lounge, and you created some space built within your culture that fostered that. Now that space needs to be created virtually or in a hybrid format to be able to continue to cultivate those relationships and conversations.”
  • Sumit – “People do not just want a place to work or a place to get a salary. They want meaning, purpose and they want to work in a company where they feel loved and valued.” 
  • Leslie – “The leader doesn’t have to have those solutions. The leader needs to create the environment, to have the conversations, to be able to come up with those solutions.”
  • Sumit – “If we can help leaders get better at the conversations they are having that will also solve not just the productivity problem, but also the hiring problem. Coaching is just a way to have conversations more effectively.”
  • Sumit – “The point of feedback is not to show people where they are wrong. It’s not to fix them. It’s not to put them into boxes of underperforming, exceeding expectations, and so on. It’s to help them get better so that the team gets better and so that the company gets better.”
  • Sumit – “This is also an opportunity to involve people and to listen to, and do and implement what they feel is the right thing to do rather than what you can plan or devise as a leader.”
  • Sumit – “Vacation should not be taken to distress or to avoid burnout. Everybody should be free to use their vacation days for travelling, practising their hobbies, any other passions, spending time with family. But if you use vacation for de-stressing. Then it means that something is wrong in the workplace itself. And that’s where we can focus our attention.”
  • Leslie – “When your talented employees and the driven ones become silent, that’s the really scary moment because something is wrong.”

As quoted by Edgar Schein in his book Humble Inquiry, an humble inquiry is recognizing that insights most often come from conversations and relationships in which we have learned to listen to each other and have learned to respond appropriately, to make joint sense out of our shared context, rather than arguing with each other into submission.