Does My Omniscience Bother You?
Amazingly, our culture is full of omniscient people.
 
Or so it seems from people whose behaviors I observed over the past week:
  • All-knowing people who freely shared their truth—the truth, which they had in abundance—informing lesser beings about what they should think and do.
  • People with no questions, only answers.
  • Those who, instead of listening, reloaded, preparing to fire off their next rejoinder.
  • People who filtered incoming data for that which confirmed their worldview.
Tune in to popular talk shows, listen to our colleagues at work, and reflect on our own conversations for more of the same. At one time or another, we all have engaged in these kinds of unconscious behaviors to show that we are smart, capable, and right—maybe even god-like.
 
And frankly, it's annoying (not to mention bad for business, which is a topic for another blog).
 
Inquiry is an important antidote for omniscience. Inquiry is not asking questions that can be answered with yes or no—questions that begin with phrases like “Don’t you agree that…?” or “Have you considered…?” Neither is it asking questions to which we believe we already possess the answer.
 
Inquiry is asking open-ended questions and then listening—truly listening—for the other’s perspective. Inquiry requires listening with curiosity and readiness to hear ideas that may challenge our worldview.
 
“What is your understanding of the situation and how we might address it?”
“What leads you to think that? What experience or data can you share?”
“What is your thinking about what we should do next?”
“What is important to you, going forward?”
 
Let's stop sitting in for God. Inquire of someone today, and then shut up and listen.
RUTH / INQUIRY / DIALOGUE / TOOLS / Jun 27, 2011, 7:21pm / Comments (16)
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