The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk

#342: Shane Snow – The #1 Skill Of An Effective Leader (Intellectual Humility)

Text LEARNERS to 44222

For full show notes go to


  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Pattern recognition – The ability to connect ideas and people
    • Systems thinking – Connect dots, zoom out
    • The ability to continue to question yourself, a hunger to improve, a “voracious learner” (Liv Boeree)
    • Must relearn how to humble yourself
    • The #1 skill is intellectual humility — The ability to sit between gullibility and stubbornness
  • Why are people so unwilling to change their mind?
    • “So much of our ideas are attached to our identities.”
    • “You must separate your ego from intellect.”
  • What is a solution (as a leader)?
    • If you’re the one in power, invite people with a different perspective to the table.
    • Don’t invoke identity.  Just ask for perspective.
    • Leave space to change your mind… “I could be wrong but…”
  • Strength and flexibility should not be in conflict
  • Ben Franklin idea:
    • Use idea, leave space for change, set opinion, but use phrases less defensive, only change your mind based on evidence.  Say things like:
      • “I could be wrong but…”
      • “The research suggests…”
      • “The evidence suggests…”
  • Elon Musk — His pattern to persuade people…
    • It’s purpose based leadership (“to make life multi-planetary”)
    • The strength is in his vision and his purpose.  He’s seen as strong by being willing to change his mind.
  • Compliance versus Committed = Cult vs Culture
    • Difference between a cult and culture:
      • Cult – Must act and think in a certain way
      • Culture – Asked to contribute your ideas in your way
  • Key part of leadership: “Understand what matters to your people.”
  • Intellectual humility:
    • Respect for others’ viewpoints
    • Lack of intellectual overconfidence
    • Separating your ego from your intellect
    • Being open to revising your viewpoints
    • Openness to new experiences
  • Separate feelings/thoughts from facts
  • Trying something new creates new opportunities
  • Advice:
    • Learn about intellectual humility – take Shane’s assessment
    • Frame changing your mind as a strength — reward others for doing this
    • Habits: Instead of saying “I feel” say “I think.”  Words matter.
  • Separate facts from stories
  • Why joining The Learning Leader Circle is a good idea


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