I was at a team meeting recently discussing a difficult project that we had been working on for a number of months that had started to lose momentum. Ideas had dried up and motivation was low. We had a new person in the room that day, a new hire who was assigned to the team. She started by introducing herself and asked “I hope you don’t mind if I ask a lot of dumb questions?”
As the meeting progressed and as she asked more and more questions she claimed further, “I am sorry for being the dumbest person in the room.” As I looked around the room, colleagues were furiously scribbling down the answers to her questions, connections, and sparks were being ignited again and the energy returned. It was clear that we had convinced ourselves that we knew all there was to know, and that each of us, should ‘really know something by now’.
Humility can sometimes be a powerful tool and appearing to be the dumbest person in the room is sometimes the smartest move you can make.
Could you be the smartest person in the room by adopting the role of dumbest person in the room to move your team forward?