How Curiosity Can Help You Build a Better Team
When it comes to curiosity, we could all learn something valuable from children as they are often masters of asking questions. Mainly because they are fascinated with the world around them and ask questions to seek to better understand people and situations.
Strangely enough, curiosity might not be seen as an essential quality for professional adults, leaders specifically, and it is one that we highly recommend should not be ignored.
Let’s look at ways you can integrate curiosity into your leadership style and approach.
If you are a leader who does not see the value of curiosity, you are certainly not going to encourage it among your people. Some believe it may make managing people more difficult. Others feel it’s an obstacle to peak performance. In other words, they think allowing others to explore and question will impede their ability to be productive. However, this can sometimes lead to the stagnation of ideas, thereby hindering or limiting innovation.
Leaders need to take a leap of faith here. If you want to lead a dynamic organization with real sustainability, your investment in creating a more curious workforce will pay off in a big way.
Leading with Curiosity
Perhaps the best way to encourage curiosity within your organization is to demonstrate and model the quality yourself. How inquisitive are you? Do you take the time to ask thoughtful questions to better understand situations and those around you?
Some leaders might feel afraid to demonstrate curiosity because they believe it could make them appear indecisive or incompetent. People appreciate and respect leaders who ask questions as it is often interpreted as genuine interest and care if delivered appropriately.
Tips for Increasing Curiosity in Your Organization
To improve your organization’s commitment to curiosity, you need to take the first steps in the process and model curiosity and here are ways you can do that:
#1 — Be Mindful of How You React to Questions
How often have you responded to a question from an employee with an eye roll, sigh or a shrug? That reaction might be interpreted as their input doesn’t matter, which only discourages curiosity. As previously mentioned, stifling curiosity can not only hurt you, but it will also impact the level of engagement and performance of those that you serve.
#2 — It’s Not About Perfection
Mastering the way in which you ask questions is not as important as the impact or the results it can generate. The power of being curious fosters innovation and out-of-the-box thinking and this is what drives organizations forward. Once we get comfortable with asking questions and being curious, it starts to take on a life of its own in a powerful and habitual way. It's not about asking the big and complex questions. It’s about stimulating learning and accountability in those around you.
#3 — Encourage Opportunities to Fail Fast and Learn
If you punish people for failures, you send the message that it is not okay to explore, test and pilot ideas, which is what innovation is all about. Encouraging risk-taking and learning from situations that did not go well, are growth and development opportunities. You still need to acknowledge the perceived failure and talk about what went well, what went wrong and what you learned – these are what I call “teaching moments”. Curiosity, experimentation, and risk-taking enables innovation, which, in turn, fosters engagement and high performance.
Are You Building a Culture of Curiosity?
When we let our curiosity guide us in our day-to-day interactions, it can help us expand our thinking and the thinking of those around us. When you pair this approach with the qualities of being a grounded, self-aware leader, everyone in the organization benefits and feels valued.
Is being genuinely curious something you have incorporated into your leadership approach and best practices? If it is foreign to you or feels like an abstract idea, we encourage you to try it – one question at a time and watch the impact it has on engagement, innovation, and performance.
If you’re interested in learning more and how it can be applied to your culture, feel free to reach out. You can call me at 1-855-871-3374 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.