Curiosity… not just for cats anymore.
Curiosity is one of the foundational qualities of a leader’s character and plays a vital dual role for those in a leadership position. It is the portal that allows us access to learn about ourselves, the fuel that feeds the flames of our education, inspiration, imagination, creativity, and judgment and allows us to make contributions to the world in which we work.
Curiosity demands that we be much more concerned with discernment and discovery than with being right. Fundamental to the exercise of curiosity, then, is the capacity for humility. The wise leader knows there is more power in a right question than there could possibly be in a ready answer. The wise leader knows that mastery in any field of endeavor requires a commitment to be a constant student and learner. Curiosity requires us to dispense with any notion that a leader’s job is to have all the answers.
Choose one of the following to focus on during your week. Journal your results about what you notice and learn when you are more curious.
- Instead of having all the answers yourself, be confident enough to ask your team simple questions and open your mind to whatever they say. In doing so, you honor them and show them that you can learn—which leads to higher performance, commitment, creativity, and collaboration. Catch yourself playing the expert, and choose instead to ask questions, as would a child or a student in class. Your team will view you as more approachable, give you important new information, and do their best work.
- It is so easy to blame others when things go wrong. Consider being curious about your experience rather than critical. For example, instead of beating yourself up for not reaching sales goals, try asking yourself what was going on in your life that you kept performing below your expectations. With an attitude of “how fascinating that I’ve created this,” you are much more likely to help yourself find new solutions to attaining your goals.
- Practice asking questions with openness and neutrality. Practice with strangers in stores and with people close to you. Stop thinking you know all the answers…be open to being surprised! Be humble.
Feel free to reach out to the coaches at Emergent (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more insights on your leadership development and how to be more curious.
Have a great week.