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Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust

SKU: 9781523095384
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Bestselling author and father of organizational culture studies, Edgar Schein and Peter Schein trail-blaze with a creative perspective on leadership that encourages vulnerability and empathy as a form of strength.

The more traditional forms of leadership that are based on static hierarchies and professional distance between leaders and followers are growing increasingly outdated and ineffective. As organizations face more complex interdependent tasks, leadership must become more personal in order to insure open trusting communication that will make more collaborative problem solving and innovation possible. Without open and trusting communications throughout organizations, they will continue to face the productivity and quality problems that result from reward systems that emphasize individual competition and "climbing the corporate ladder". Authors Edgar Schein and Peter Schein recognize this reality and call for a reimagined form of leadership that coincides with emerging trends of relationship building, complex group work, diverse workforces, and cultures in which everyone feels psychologically safe. Humble Leadership calls for "here and now" humility based on a deeper understanding of the constantly evolving complexities of interpersonal, group and intergroup relationships that require shifting our focus towards the process of group dynamics and collaboration. Humble Leadership at all levels and in all working groups will be the key to achieving the creativity, adaptiveness, and agility that organizations will need to survive and grow.


Edgar H. Schein is professor emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management.
Peter A. Schein is the cofounder and COO of the Organizational Culture and Leadership Institute.


This is the key book for the new age of human organizations. It ought to be compulsory reading for anyone who is given charge of any operation.
Charles Handy, author of The Second Curve

The future will reward humility and punish arrogance. Ed and Peter Schein show us both the power and the strength of humble leadership. This book is an antidote to arrogance and a practical guide to making the future.
Bob Johansen, Distinguished Fellow, Institute for the Future, and author of The New Leadership Literacies

This book outlines the pathway to a culture of cooperation and trust and the leadership needed to create this. If you take it seriously, Humble Leadership is the only book on management that you will ever need.
Peter Block, author of Stewardship and Flawless Consulting and coauthor of An Other Kingdom

Humility may be the modern leader's most important attribute. In a complex, dynamic world, humility is simply realism. This powerful and thoroughly engaging book delivers the wisdom of Edgar Schein's half century of research and practice dedicated to helping organizations and those who manage them. Its authorsa pioneering organizational scholar and his sonembody humility as they describe its power in transforming organizations. Compelling case studies clarify the humble leadership approach and make it actionable.
Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School

"Effective leadership is all about building trust and relationships. With Humble Leadership, Ed and Peter help us to actually get there by understanding relationships on a much more granular and tangible level."
Severin Schwan, CEO Roche Group

In an era of national cynicism and dismay, this call for empathy, trust, and collaboration is a timely breath of fresh air with relevance for leaders at all levels.
Lucian Leape, Adjunct Professor of Health Policy (retired), Harvard School of Public Health