Five Ways Curiosity Can Amplify Your Leadership

Posted on April 3, 2024 by Nate Regier / 0 comments
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More than ever, curiosity is a fundamental skill for leaders. It improves your positive impact on those you lead, and it can increase your agility and capacity to learn and grow.

Five Ways Curiosity Can Transform Your Leadership

  1. Foster Innovation: Curious leaders are motivated to explore new ideas and creative solutions.
  2. Continuous Learning: Curious leaders never stop learning. They regularly expose themselves to different perspectives.
  3. Better Problem-Solving: Curious leaders question assumptions and consider multiple perspectives before making decisions. This leads to better solutions.
  4. Strengthened Communication: Curious leaders show genuine interest in others’ ideas and feedback, facilitating open dialogue and collaboration and fostering psychological safety.
  5. More Resilience: Curious leaders have a growth mindset. They see challenges as opportunities for learning and growth, rather than setbacks.

Curiosity and AI

Curiosity can help you leverage AI more effectively. The more I listen to others’ experiences and the more I immerse myself in various AI tools, the more I realize how important curiosity is. AI can answer almost any question, but the quality of the answer depends on the quality of the question. Maximizing the capabilities of technologies like ChatGPT rests in our human capacity to be curious.

Seven Ways Leaders Can Cultivate Curiosity

  1. Practice Active Listening: When team members share ideas, listen to understand. Ask follow-up questions and genuinely engage with their ideas and perspectives. Avoid jumping to conclusions, even if you’ve heard that idea before.
  2. Avoid Getting Attached To Your Solutions: My favorite quote about curiosity is from Millie Ward, founder and CEO of Stone Ward. She says, “The best idea doesn’t care who had it.” Even though you might have a ton of experience, remain open to the possibility that others can also have great ideas.
  3. Encourage More Questions: Foster an environment where people are encouraged to ask, “Why?’ or “What if?” Keep asking more questions and resist the urge to settle on an answer too quickly.
  4. Embrace Challenges as Learning Opportunities: Obstacles are meant to teach us. When challenges come along, ask yourself and your team, “What is this situation trying to teach us? What do we not yet know that we need to learn?”
  5. Explore Your Learning Edge: Seek out new experiences and viewpoints. Read articles, listen to podcasts, and watch media that challenges you and invites you to feel uncomfortable. Just because you expose yourself to different viewpoints doesn’t mean you have to adopt them.
  6. Solicit Honest Feedback: Nothing challenges your curiosity more than receiving honest feedback. Make it a routine to solicit feedback about how you are doing as a leader. Treat feedback as a gift and show gratitude to the giver.
  7. Reflect and Integrate: Make time to reflect on new learning, new experiences, and feedback. Ask yourself daily, “What new insights have I gained and how will I apply them?” Your brain and your soul need time to integrate.

Last week I attended the Association of Learning Providers (ISA) annual business retreat. This group of forward-thinking learning and development leaders gathers once a year to share best practices, support each other, and keep abreast of current trends and innovations. Each year ISA gives several awards to companies that demonstrate particular innovation, thought leadership, and contribution to the industry. This year, Box of Crayons won the Business Showcase award. In a panel discussion with their leadership team, CEO Shannon Minifie described the process of transitioning leadership from founder Michael Bungay Stanier to a formal executive team. Part of this process was to select one guiding principle that best captured the essence of their learning and development firm. “Unleash the power of curiosity” is their unifying theme. Congratulations to the team at Box of Crayons for embracing curiosity and for the difference you are making in the world.

Curiosity is the foundation of the Capability Switch, one of the three switches of The Compassion Mindset®. For more on how to turn on your Capability Switch as a leader, check out Chapter Five in my newest book, Compassionate Accountability: How Leaders Build Connection and Get Results. 

Learn more about the Three Switches in this Forbes Article.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2024

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