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The Humble Leader's Guide: Dr. Franziska Frank on Practicing Humility in Leadership #168

Mentioned in the show...

Article: Caruso, E. M., Epley, N., & Bazerman, M. H. (2006).
The costs and benefits of undoing egocentric responsibility assessments in groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(5), 857.

Video mentioned about the safety obsessed CEO – Here is the story:


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Franziska's Humility Acronym


BOOK The Power of Humility in Leadership, Influencing as a Role Model

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Transcript (Read & Listen)

 Today, we’re diving into the heart of influential leadership with a special guest, Dr. Franziska Frank. Get ready to unlock the secrets of leading with grace and power. In this episode, the author of The Power of Humility in Leadership, Influencing as a Role Model, shares invaluable insights on identifying, practicing, and measuring humility in leadership.

Discover whether you really are as humble as you think you are, and then learn some of the basics about how to embrace humility and how that can transform your approach to leadership and elevate your influence. If you haven’t already subscribed to the show and you like what you heard so far, then hit that subscribe button and we’ll embark on a journey that will really reshape the way that you’re leading.

Welcome to the Experts Speak English podcast. Together, we’ll discover how to talk yourself into an international career without the bullshit. And at the end of each episode, I give you an opportunity to try out what you have just learned on the show, because I give you Coco’s Communication Challenge, and that gives you an opportunity to get out there and try out one of the tools, techniques, or tips that you will have heard on the show.

I’m Corinne Wilhelm, I’m a corporate communication coach with over 20 years experience of helping leaders to secure the career that they deserve through intentional communication, intercultural awareness and the confidence to show up as the English speaking expert. So let’s get cracking, shall we? So welcome to a new episode of Experts Speak English.

Today, I have the great pleasure of inviting a guest, and I haven’t had a guest on the show for some time. And Dr. Franziska Frank, she’s a freelance trainer, keynote speaker, and she works in three languages, English, German, and Russian. And she’s also the author of The Power of Humility in Leadership, Influencing as a Role Model.

Don’t worry, all of this will be in the show notes (above). A book which came out earlier this year,  Influence is her zone of genius, really, both directly and indirectly. And like myself, she’s an interculturalist. So having studied history, then law in Germany, Munich, Twice. She worked as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group before turning to academia as a program director right here in Berlin.

So she’s now enjoying her role as an author and you are? Franziska frank. Very welcome to the Experts Speak English podcast.

FF: Thank you very much for the invitation.

CW: You’re most welcome. Okay. So I’m in the process of writing a book as well. So I’m going to ask you a few questions about the book. How long did it actually take you to write the book?

You know, once you’d done the research, not the research part, cause that was quite intense as well, wasn’t it? Just the writing part. So I did it in two phases. Um, I first sort of started, um, doing the research, um, a lot to know what humility actually is, because the humility, when you think of it, you may come up with your own definition, but strange enough, there’s a really good definition already by research.

FF: So I actually spent, I think, um, about four, five weeks, um, some of that full time reading through the 250 articles. Um, that had been written on humility. Wow. And clustering them and seeing what are actually the key messages from there and how can I, how I can convey that. And then I built myself a structure.

And then, uh, my goal was actually to write between, um, three to eight pages a day. And that typically worked. So I also had other things to do, but because it was Corona, I had many days where I could really, really concentrate on that. Um, and so then altogether, I suppose it took me about, I can’t actually remember.

So long ago, I think it took me about half a year. And then now that I upgraded, um, the, for the second German edition of the first English edition, I upgraded the content and added much more of my research that took another, um, two, three months, um, always with about three, four pages a day. Wow. Okay. Right.

CW: I get it. So it really wasn’t two phases. That’s great. And how did you do the clustering? Did you have some kind of mirror board or how did you do that?

FF: Well, I’m an ex management consultant, so you do different, uh, different structures. And here with the humility, I mean, humility has four sub elements. So to a certain extent, that invites that invites you to cluster along those four sub elements, so that’s not too difficult.

Then of course, you need to have a chapter on something like, what’s it like? I mean, what, what does the data say about managers worldwide and how humble they are? Then you have to go into an application phase somewhere along. So that, that made it quite easy to build up a sensible structure.

CW: Right. Great. Okay. So, uh, that’s actually quite a good segue into the four sub elements of humility then. Why don’t you just give us an overview first of all of those four elements, and then we’ll kind of drill down a little bit into each one, if you don’t mind. Yeah. So, humility has a bit of the downside that the word in many languages is negative.

In German, it’s called Demut, which on the whole is quite positive because it’s the courage to but somehow the serving and being below someone has taken over the meaning of the word. Same in English, humility for many people is close to humiliation. So they don’t like it. They try and avoid it. Um, but sort of, if you, if you look at what humility actually is, and there’s one researcher who termed this very nicely, he said, it’s nothing more than an ego free view from the balcony.

What does the situation require for me now in order to have that for ego free view from the balcony?  Therefore sub elements, that you can train, which is the good thing. The first one is to really see yourself in your strength and weaknesses, also in the mistakes that you make and be willing to show.

All of them, where it makes sense for the bigger picture. So it doesn’t mean that you have to show a weakness, just for fun. But it’s worthwhile showing a weakness if it’s sensible for the bigger picture, which could be to strengthen the team, to improve processes, to invite others, to show errors.

It’s also got something to do by showing strengths. And that’s something which often comes as a huge surprise, to people, when you talk about humility. But of course, if the key is an ego free view from the balcony, ever so often, the balcony shows you that the situation requires you to be strong, to fight for something, even to fire someone.

You don’t have to do nasty, but the situation will require from you many, many strengths for the role that you have voluntarily taken on.

So that’s the first segment, strength and weaknesses.

The second one has to do about actually seeing others, appreciating others for what they do. And we have a tendency of being really, really bad at that because we don’t really see others.

RESEARCH So there’s a very famous piece of research where a group is asked, so how much did each of you contribute to the group result? And they come up with a sum of 144%. And then of course you say to the group, look, you only produced a hundred percent results. So it should add up, your contribution should have up to a hundred.

So people reflect and they come back and they come up with 128 percent as a sum. So it’s really hard for us to really see what others are doing. And that’s why quite often people don’t feel appreciated. That’s the second part. The third part is always being willing and open to learn. That sounds so simple.

So when I ask him about training, who’s willing and open to learn all the hands. But then a bit later, people say, I’m not that storytelling person. Oh, no, I don’t like cold calling. Then you get all these fixed mindsets coming in about yourself, which are hindering if your role requires you to be able to do that cold calling or storytelling.

But also quite often we have a fixed mindset regarding others. This person will never be able to, I’ll never manage to motivate that person to do that. They’ll never be able to talk properly to clients. So we have a fixed mindset for ourselves, but very, very often also for others. And the last one is to, um, understanding the bigger picture.

What is the bigger picture? How much are we actually dependent on luck and circumstances? So that’s the one side of the bigger picture. And on the other side, what are we actually responsible for without us realizing that we are responsible for it?


There’s a really great, video of a former CEO of a large, um, energy company.

And he says he always wanted safety in his company. Always wanted to implement a safety program and got it there. The program was implemented and then the safety bond, it got  worse and worse and he went to his chief risk officer and said, what’s the problem? Look, I’m a proponent of safety.

Everything’s going wrong. And then the chief of the risk officer, finally, after beating around the bush said, you’re the problem. And the CEO said, what do you mean?

‘I’m the problem!’

I always talk about safety and said, yeah, you talk about it, but look at what you do. You don’t hold onto the handrail, which is the protocol.

You don’t park your car in backwards, which is the protocol. And when you come to plant, you start talking finance. You start talking budget. You don’t ask about safety.

LESSON So he ended up realizing that he was actually responsible for people not taking safety seriously because they were looking at what he was doing.

CW: You’ve got to walk your talk, right? Walk your talk and also realize that if you ask, for example, you asked for a reduction of budget, you’re not going to get innovation. So you have to be very much aligned and then not fault other people for having done something. And you’ve created the culture in which that is actually happening.

FF: So these are the four elements and they can be nicely measured, not using the word humility, and they can then be, um, analyzed and then dozens of stories of how it goes well and how it works badly.

CW: I know what you mean about what you were saying about Demut having a negative twinge to it. I think sometimes these words, they, they evolve over time, don’t they?

And that’s rather unfortunate. It’s a dynamic that we don’t really have that much control over really, but I guess through books like yours, you can help readdress the balance and get people to look at things more positively. So that’s great. Yes. And that’s, that’s my hope as well. So I managed to already meant the, um, German, uh, article in Wikipedia about Demut, um, and what it’s like, and the English one actually isn’t too bad.

Um, and I think the key thing is I don’t have to talk about humility. I can also call it mature leadership. The interesting thing is those four sub elements, they form a standalone concept and whatever you call it, that has positive results. And it’s really vital for people to understand that if I do get these four things right, I will have measurably better and more motivated and more creative employees.

I will have a better company with a better ambidextrous strategy, with a better culture of dealing with errors. And I myself will be seen as someone with more leadership potential. I will have less stress and, um, be sort of. Appreciated more by my employees. That’s just a few of more than 20 positive effects that research has uncovered if I am a humble person.

And the nice thing about humility, and that differentiates it a bit from servant leadership, is that you can also be humble and sort of harvest the bonus of humility if you’re not a leader. Because there’s also a lot of research, what happens if I’m a humble employee? Or if I’m a humble team member? How does that actually have an effect?

And it equally has a very, very positive effect on the people you’re working with on the work that’s produced and also on yourself.

CW: And I can totally see what you’re saying about, you know, the stress level going down, you know, because I think a lot of CEOs feel like, you know, they have to have everything under control and, you know, they, they can’t really talk to anyone and it can be a lonely place up there.

You know, there aren’t that many people you can talk to if you’re not a humble leader. So, um, I think the, the stress thing is. It’s probably huge, you know, and probably something that people, we’re all yearning for that. Right. But sometimes in leadership, it seems almost taboo to even want that stress free life.

And of course, a leader that isn’t humble inadvertently isolates themselves.

FF: I think it also has something to do with, if you, if you are humble, you realize that the world is not all on your shoulder. You also realize that it’s human to make mistakes and it’s actually useful to be vulnerable also. It doesn’t make things go away.

So making mistakes or things going wrong is still going to be stressful, but because you realize I’m just human, like everyone else, it’s much easier to ask for help. to ask for support or at least to ask for advice, um, which gets you also out of, out of, out of the doom loop, so to say. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, people appreciate being involved, you know, they appreciate being asked, you know, how do you think we could do that?

Do you have any ideas? And so on. I mean, I’ve worked for companies in the past where they’ve said, you know, Corinne, I don’t understand it. We’ve got this suggestion box here and I empty it frequently and there’s never anything in there, you know? So what do you think is going on in that situation? I mean, I have my own ideas, but I’d like to hear from you.

What do you think you could change in that situation? If you’re reaching out for suggestions, maybe a box isn’t so sexy. I have to say, but you know, uh, what could you do then to really become more humble as a leader. I think this asking for advice is, is very powerful, but you have to do it in a diet or a maximum or try it, or it could be a team as well, but you can’t just have a suggestion box.

FF: Um, that really doesn’t, it doesn’t work that well. It has to be that I’m being seen asking for advice is also part of appreciation. And of course, I’m only appreciated if someone comes to me directly. It could be that I send an email to, I don’t know, the IT team and say, look, we have an issue here. Would you be willing to help? And then, um, they would write something, but a box like that is not going to be very, very helpful.

The thing about humility, it’s, it’s a virtue and like any virtue, it can be learned. We know from Aristotle that if you want to be a just person, you just have to practice just acts. So if you want to become humble.

It doesn’t matter if you stumble every so often. And that’s actually also quite nice research that humility and healthy narcissism go hand in hand. So it’s really important. Again, it has nothing to do with hiding your light under the bushel, but it has that ego free view from the balcony. In getting out of your own needs and wants and, and panics looking at what the situation needs.

Having said that you should get out of your own needs and wants, that’s not – fully the truth, because the good thing about humility and again, different from servant leadership, it’s also got something to do about humility with your own life. That means that you should not negate what you yourself need.

It’s just that if you are, for example, in a work situation, there it is much more about what others need. We shouldn’t leave our own perspective out of the picture. And when you look at the bigger picture and how to find it, I always find a very cool tool

So I always ask myself, what does my 80 year old Francisco want from me right now? And my 80 year old Francisco, of course is wise. Doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, is clever and thinking clearly. And she sees very clearly what I should do for my work life, what I should do for my private life and what I should do for, for just me as a, as an individual.

So I think that’s also how you can shift your own person. To this ego free view from the balcony. Um, and she may see where I’m being too lazy. She may see where I’m doing too much, where I’m not meeting friends, where I’m working too hard or too little, actually.

So that’s quite a useful trick to ever so often get yourself out of the everyday mundane and also very emotionally driven parts of our life.

CW: Yeah, because we all fall into a rut sometimes. We all, you know, that’s totally normal. We’re not robots here.

Yes. Absolutely.

You did mention that you mentioned healthy narzism. That was fascinating. Would you like to expand on that for us?

FF: Well, so we are individuals and we see the world through our eyes.

We should not discard our own needs and that is what is called healthy narcissism.

So the unhealthy one (narzism) is where you put yourself over and above others, either because you are sort of, very, self loving or because in a certain way you’re self hating That often also leads to an unhealthy narcissism and um, the healthy narcissism is that it’s me I mean it is my life and I am allowed to fight for things.

I’m also allowed to fight for myself but I can see where I should fit in and that there’s some times in my world it’s about me But most of the time it’s not and it doesn’t harm me.

So it’s a bit like if I do something well It’s a bit like my height. I’m not proud about my height.It’s just there. So I didn’t do anything to secure my height. So to a certain extent, the other things that we do and that we are able to do, it’s there and I’m quite happy about it. And like myself to that extent that we all managed to like ourselves.

CW: Yeah. That’s interesting. Yeah. So you decided to go with Routledge, a U. S. publisher for this book. So why is that? How did that come about? Because at the moment there’s all this big vibe behind self publishing and so on. Why did you go that route?

FF: So I published my first book in a self publishing mode, even though I had an offer from a publishing company and then realized that you don’t typically get reviews.

If you self publish in that sort of area. So I thought I would love a publisher. And, um, then already the German edition is published with Springer. But they aren’t as active internationally. So when I decided to put the English version out – I’ve been working a lot for ESMT business school in Berlin, and they do a lot of work also to go with Routledge.

I contacted a number of people and actually a lady from the US said, Oh, she likes the topic. And it fit into her current portfolio and the co-orporation has been really nice.

CW: Great. Yeah. And, uh, how was it in terms of not just editing the book and, and all of that side of things, but in terms of the promotion and the marketing where you pretty much left your own devices there, or did they really kind of stand behind you and help you?

FF: So I think there is hardly any business. Book publishing company that does a lot of marketing. So they give you flyers. They, they would help you organize things, but it’s typically something you do yourself. You do your own marketing.
Plus, having interviewed 170 top managers for the book, that to a certain extent is a mixture.

So they, they provided a lot of content for the book, so of course it’s also interesting for them to read about it.

Sometimes, when I teach about humility, then people say, Oh, come on, we’ll, we’ll buy your book and give it to the participants. So I think for me, the book provides an opportunity  to talk about the relevant issues.

And I’m really passionate about this ego free view from the balcony. And also out of that comes not only teaching about humility, but also the tools you need as a manager today.

I think because we are in this age of decreasing hierarchy and shifting teams and new work and agile and the panic of what AI is going to do to all of us, it’s really important, first of all, to get yourself in order.

And for that, humility is really useful and it has indirect effects as a role model but also to get your toolset in order, and that’s not only leadership styles because of the shift in leadership. I’m now working for two network organizations, who have eliminated leadership completely.

They don’t have managers and suddenly you need something else. You need rules of influence and you need a toolbox that is going to increase the likelihood of you getting what you want in within ethical parameters.

CW: It’s interesting that you touched on Agile because I’m very into Agile and I work with a lot of Agile teams.

So, tell me a little bit about humility in Agile teams. If you’re really doing Agile, there is more space for humility, but there are lots of companies that are doing soft agile. They have a Kanban board. They might have an element of agile, but actually they’re not really a hundred percent behind it yet. So what would you recommend to companies like that, that are struggling to really make that final push to really embrace agile?

FF: I think that there are two big elements.

One is that it’s really hard for managers to let go. So what do I do if I’m no longer a manager? So if I really need to let go, I need to find myself a new position. If there’s still a manager in the system, what is it , that only I can do? And typically it’s fighting for resources.

It’s selling people internally. I really have to let go. And many people find that hard.

The second thing I think has to do with Within the agile system, taking on responsibility. So it’s so lovely and comforting if we only have to do X. So I’m employed for X and I have get to do X, but that’s not what the companies require if you are an agile, of course you have your part of the sprint or, um, but you should, you should still see what everything else is doing and holding it together.

And that is really quite useful.

One piece of research I did seeing how humility is connected with taking responsibility. And the more humble you are, the more you take responsibility for the big picture.

I think that with agile it’s also difficult because we no longer have hierarchies and everyone is more responsible for knowledge (management).

It becomes harder for people to, to interact. They again feel they don’t have the tools. So if I’m responsible for one part of this, how and why should I contact the other person?

But if I have the, the view from the, from the balcony, I know I should. And now the question is, how do I talk to a peer?

How I get a peer to do something that I see for the bigger picture is a totally different conversation in the past.

I can’t just say “Sorry, you have to do this now”.

I think that’s why many companies are struggling – because they haven’t equipped their teams with the tools to get others on board without the hierarchical code.

CW: And I think there is an element of ego in there as well, to be fair. You know, a lot of people go into leadership because they want to be all ‘Dicke Hose’ or a show off, you know, they want to be the big guy on the block.

But leadership doesn’t necessarily have to be about that. It could be about, you know, making a difference, driving the company forward. And it’s this. Big picture, I think that of the four sub elements you mentioned, I think that is the one that is most difficult to learn that, you know, getting a feel for the bigger picture.

I hear that from leaders all the time that they’ve hired somebody, but that person in a leadership role just doesn’t get the big picture. And it’s very difficult to teach someone the big picture. So what tips do you have for me there?

FF: So, can I first go back to one thing? I would actually dispute the fact that people become leaders because they want to have big status and want to do be the one to wear the trousers or ‘Dicke Hose’.

I dispute that.
I think that most leaders become leaders because on the one hand they are asked, and also because they understand/believe that they can have more leverage, they can have a bigger effect if they work with others. Um, sometimes they then find it hard to really define what is my task. But I have met many people who are really keen to also help and develop their employees and to really say, I want to be one of those great leaders.

So quite often you have a virtual circle because people themselves have had a really impactful leader. And then they want to be a great role model themselves. I had one lady, for example, who said that very early on in her career, I mean, she’s an English lady and she was working for a Mexican boss. He always said, look,”… none of us can do everything single handed and I can’t do anything without you. So please everyone look around you..”

And she says, now I’m the one in the company that’s always out there looking, where else am I needed? Where else can I do something? So she was led well, and she’s now leading well and helping others. She had a great role model, basically. Yeah. And now she’s a great role model. So I think there is a lot of very good reasons for people to become a leader.

And most of that, I think is, Is not driven by ego. And then the problem comes that when you are in the position.

If I ask managers “Would you like to be humble?” (Once they know the definition, they buy the definition). 97 percent say I want to be humble. Then I do the test, where it doesn’t mention the word humility.

80 percent see themselves as humble. So they try to do exactly that, but only 35 percent of employees agree. Right. That gap is not something to do with negative ego narcissism.

That gap is due to the fact that we are humans and we miss things. Like I said, earlier about not appreciating, we simply don’t realize what others are doing.

So suddenly our employees don’t feel appreciated. And if you ask the managers, of course I appreciate others, and only once they get thinking. Really thinking, do they say, that’s true. I appreciate, but only one person typically every two weeks or so.

Or of course I think about the bigger picture, but, um, I don’t actually take time to communicate it to others or to internalize it myself.

… (got sidetracked)

CW: I think the question was about how do people get that bigger picture learning?

FF: It’s a number of questions. What does my role require from me?

  1. What do my employees need from me?
    2. What does my company need from me?
    3. What do I need from myself?

    I think all of these Questions help.

    And the other one which I think is really useful is the pre mortem invented by Gary Klein in 1979, I think, to say it’s, it’s 2030 and my team has failed. Why? Or it’s 2040 and the company I’m working in has failed.

Why? Or it’s 2035 and I failed as a leader or as a parent. That gets you thinking in a totally different way. Again, it helps you get back onto the balcony. It switches off your ego. It’s not depressing to say, I failed as a leader. You don’t, you don’t have emotions rising. What you discover is an interesting insight.

Possibly because I never concentrated on leading because I was always firefighting.

In that case you say, okay, if that’s the case, I should put something into my calendar to make sure that doesn’t happen.

So you, again, you can, you can ask yourself a number of questions that decouple the ego or the emotions from what you’re trying to achieve.

CW: Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right there. I think unless something is scheduled in, it’s not going to happen. You know, you’ve got to create time, and if you say, I don’t have time, well, you don’t have the big picture yet.

You’re not looking at, you know, what’s really important. There’s a really nice exercise that a great American professor, Jim Clawson, always used to do with managers.

He asked people to make a list under the heading: Things I don’t have time for. Then they wrote things like, I don’t know, exercise, talking to my employees, communicating with legal, or being kind to IT, or whatever.

Um, and then he said, why don’t you cross through the heading and replace that heading with What’s not really important to me.

That’s true.
It’s not really important to me currently because otherwise I would make time.

And then again, it comes back to, okay, even if it’s not important to me, that’s fine – but cross it off the list.

For instance:
If I want to learn French, but I don’t have to learn French and I don’t have time to learn French fine. But then strike it off the list, and say in 10 years time, I may have time to learn French.

But if I don’t make time to talk to my people individually once a week, claiming that I don’t have time – that is to say – it’s not important to me, then I have a problem because as a leader, I should make time for that.

CW: Really great exercise. I think I’m going to try that one out. Fantastic. Yeah, great. So, um, in preparation for your book, you researched over 3, 500 managers.

Tell me about your research. How long did it take and what level of leadership with these managers at?

FF: So I had, again, different phases. So you can buy research candidates on the research platform Prolific. You can buy participants, which of course is not quite the same as the second level of research, which I did later with my LinkedIn contacts, but with Prolific, of course you buy a higher quality type of answer.

On the other hand, if you have thousand people, you have statistical relevance – which also works. So that was, that was one step to get going.

Then I’ve been researching with lots of my LinkedIn contacts. So I, I approached people on LinkedIn and say, would you be willing to fill in this piece of research?

I just finished a piece of research with a hundred members of supervisory boards and 100  heads of supervisory boards. In order to secure those, I wrote to, I think a thousand people in total; 50 people on LinkedIn every morning – some connected and some answered the questionnaire. That way, sometimes then you have your 200 people.

That’s how I managed to reach out to 3, 500 participants. That wasn’t one piece of research. There were many different pieces of research. And of course, now the useful thing is when I teach, I have the same questionnaires, not exactly the same, but a number of the questionnaires I use again and again. So my database is expanding.

Expanding, expanding, expanding.

So now I’m already at 4, 500 and I should imagine it’ll sometime it’ll be 10, 000. So I can now actually match people also by, um, a bit like by the industry, by the country, by age, by gender and things like that. So it’s getting bigger and bigger. So you begin to make more and more correlations with the increasing amount of data.

Sometimes I correlate, sometimes it’s mainly, assessing. So the questionnaire asks you to assess your direct superior and then also asks you to assess yourself. So that is interesting, it keeps expanding by talking about the gap. So for instance, in every situation, I’m always more humble than the person I’m assessing.

And of course, in some cases that may be true, but the likelihood is that there’s overconfidence there.

And just now with the supervisory board, I’ve also looked at the situation where someone is assessed as humble, What does it change in comparison to someone being un humble? And in this case, they’re more innovative, they are perceived as performing better.

I look for specific correlations. Like, for example, if I’m humble, I also take more responsibility for the bigger picture.

CW: Just last week I mentioned that how, you know, as a leader, you have to be prepared to fight for your people and if they are not being paid well, and your manager says we don’t have any budget, well, you have to fight! You have to make sure that they’re getting paid a decent salary because they deserve it.

FF: Yeah, yeah. Correct.

CW: Yeah. So right at the beginning of your book, Franziska, you mentioned that most employees desire a humble leader while a majority of managers believe they are already humble. So what is it then that makes leaders believe that they are humble when actually they’re not?

FF: Well, imagine I asked you, do you know your strengths and weaknesses?

And do you show them where it makes sense for the bigger picture? Well, we would typically nod (in agreement).

Do you appreciate others around you? Yeah, we typically nod.

Are you willing and open to learn? Yeah, we typically nod.

And do you see the bigger picture? Yeah.

We believe we do it.
It’s only when we spend time really diving in or when something happens, (that we see the deficits in our humility).

I was just teaching salary negotiations yesterday to the MBA class.

So when it comes to the rules of influencing, whether there’s appreciation is key. So I was then saying, now look in this negotiation.

How did you feel?
When did emotions come up?

Emotions arose when people didn’t feel appreciated.

Did the other party intend not to appreciate them?
No, of course not.

But we often don’t see what is really happening.

So I got a Spanish teacher for my youngest daughter who started learning Spanish during Corona.

When he came, he was a nice guy, I said to him, I now know, that to learn a language, you need about 2, 000 words. Would you help me that Nora actually now knows 2, 000 words by Christmas?

And he sort of agreed and and left. But then he wrote me an email saying he couldn’t work like that.

He transferred the money back to me. He had a master in how to teach languages. And I was obviously interfering and I realized, Oh dear, it’s happened to me.

I teach about appreciating others and I had absolutely failed.

He felt unappreciated. He felt his status being attacked. He felt he had no autonomy because here was a parent whom he thought had. Zilch experience.

He was right. I’ve never taught a foreign language. I’ve just learned some. Um, and I was giving him advice.

So it’s really interesting. So we, I would have thought we had a really nice conversation because I didn’t put myself into his shoes.

And once I put myself into his shoes, I realized my mistake. It’s as if someone came to me and said, you know, when you are teaching managers Franziska, I think these are the four or five points you should cover. I would also say, you might think that but I don’t care.

So I had inadvertently lacked humility and offended him.

Typically, we’re bound by our own body, by our own mind. So it’s very hard for us to put ourselves in the shoes of the others. So people don’t intentionally act unhumbly, and it’s the unintention we have to take out of the equation.

CW: To be fair, Franziska, we all have days when our communication isn’t as good as we hoped it would be, which is why at the end of my show, I always say, be the very best communicator that you can be because not every day is the same.

We are not robots. We do not sleep the same every day. We do not eat enough healthy food every day. We have stuff going on…

FF: So. you can get better at catching it.

For example, in, in one of the role plays,  someone said to the other, wanting to appreciate them, “Your work is being seen.” That’s not real appreciation.

But if that person realized immediately, (the impact of) what they said, they could have said, Oh, Sorry, that came across totally wrongly, not your work is being seen, but I see your work. And in particularly, I saw last week’s how you did that.

So I think we need to be better at catching things and then actually get better at voicing it and also pre facing and apologizing.

So I think it’s not rocket science.

I wouldn’t be as kind to give us whole days off. I would be willing to give us hours or minutes off and then say, okay, I need to bounce back so I can come back after conversation, say, “Sorry! I went wrong there” or ideally actually in the conversation, but to give us a whole day off doesn’t make us a sensitive human being.

Um, I think that’s too much, that’s too much leeway.

CW: Yeah, you’re right, actually. Cause people then start thinking about things when they go home. So some of my listeners love to make notes and others go over to the English speaking experts website afterwards for the show notes. Uh, so what is it you have put humble into a nutshell?

Haven’t you using a very lovely
acronym? Would you care to share that with us?

FF: So humility in a nutshell:

H humble are leaders who
U unveil themselves to self and others,
M measure others positively,
B believe in openness and
L learning, look to the bigger picture and the role of their
E ego.

CW: Lovely.
On reflection it would have been more humble to thank Franziska

FF: And if you look at that, then of course that spells humble.

CW: Fabulous. If you give me a graphic of that bookmark, I would include it in the show notes.

There is at the end of every episode, a call to action. Coco’s Communication Challenge, so for this episode I urge you to go out, treat yourself to this book, because if you become a humble leader, that stress falls away and you might well find doors open for you that wouldn’t be there before.

So Franziska, thank you very much for joining me on the show today. We’ve had some wonderful insights and I really do hope that my listeners go away and really think about those four questions:

You can find Franziska Frank on LinkedIn and she’s super approachable, super easy to get in touch with.

So feel free to reach out with any questions that you have. And I look forward to meeting you on the next episode of Experts Speak English.

You’ve been listening to Corinne Wilhelm and. This show is brought to you by EnglishSpeakingExperts. com.

Be the best communicator that you can be. And remember, if you make a mistake or something just doesn’t come out right, then nip it in the bud and make amends straight away.

Just as we talked about today with Franziska Frank.

Goodbye for now.