The Powerful Impact Of Humility And Good Listening Working Together Hand in Hand for Bottom Line Results with Michal Lehmann

Listening is a powerful skill that can transform our interactions and relationships. It opens up doors to deeper understanding, connection, and empathy and ultimately cultivates something equally valuable, and that is humility.

Michal Lehmann is a post-doctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, focused on exploring the intricacies of humility from a dyadic perspective. Her research delves into the causes, outcomes, and boundary conditions of virtues in the workplace, with a special emphasis on how humility can enhance one’s understanding of people from diverse backgrounds. She is the lead author of a paper about dyadic humility among co-workers published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, as well as a paper about listening as an intervention to increase humility published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

In this episode, Michal explores the power of listening at a dyadic level. By emphasizing the importance of listening, team members can uncover better ideas and contribute to improved performance. This, in turn, fuels the success of the organization and enhances its bottom line results.

“When someone listens really, really well, but truly and authentically well, they become part of another person’s story.” – Michal Lehmann


01:36 – What was it like for Michal to notice the power of listening

02:48 – The significance of her father’s act of listening with her.

03:33 – How she got into research in the listening space

08:33 – Listening to your spark: It’s like the scent of spring, of blossoms that when I feel I found something interesting.

11:02 – Two questions she focused on in her research about humility at work: What could increase humility between two people? Once I am humble in the presence of another person, how will that affect this other person at work?

13:53 – Humility taking place in a dyadic relationship 

16:04 – How listening contributes to humility: We found that listening helps create humility for both partners, for the speaker and the listener. 

16:59 – Two main components of literature that explains why listening makes people more humble: Internal complexity and external complexity

20:25 – Conducting experiments in different courses and coming up with interesting findings

22:19 – Recommendations on how to develop humility among team members

24:51 – Intellectual humility as it relates to empathy

27:10 – Measuring emphatic accuracy

28:25 – How to increase intellectual humility: Making them realize that we don’t know everything and we could make mistakes. 

30:55 – Benefits of cultivating intellectual humility in an organization: Productivity will increase and bottomline will also do much better

31:34 – Checking on her very own intellectual humility and what negative connotation people have with listening

36:08 – What she wants to achieve more in terms of listening: I would like to find more ways to make connections between science, research findings and the field.

Key Takeaways:

“Humility is particularly important because…you cannot be humble without another person. Humility is something that is perceived in the context of other people.” – Michal Lehmann

“It [listening] helps equalize things and it helps both partners to become more humble, but more so for the listener.” – Michal Lehmann

“When you truly listen to another person…you…merge with the other person. That’s the strongest way to realize that you’re not the center of the world and that you are part of something bigger. That is why when people listen, they become more humble, because they have the understanding that they’re part of something more complicated, more complex.” – Michal Lehmann

“I think that leaders should let coworkers work on projects in dyads (pairs). Because we know there are some very important processes happening at that dyadic level and that might improve performance of the team.” – Michal Lehmann


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