Human Leadership Is All About Curiosity

I recently had the privilege of looking after my grandson for an evening. One of the things I love about children is their curiosity about their world. My grandson’s delight in seeing and exploring new things is infectious, you reconnect with your own childhood when delight was found in simple things. Of course, along with curiosity come lots of questions usually preceded by why…?

It seems that for many this curiosity fades away as you grow older. Yet curiosity is, I believe, a key indicator of good leadership. What does it mean to be curious? It is being willing to ask questions and find out what people are thinking, why things are done in a certain way and being willing to explore and experiment to see if there are better or more effective options. To grow in your leadership will mean cultivating your curiosity. Finding out what motivates those ahead of you and what is going on in the lives of those you lead.

“I have no special talents I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein

It is true that curiosity comes out of a desire to know more than you do now. When you stop being curious you stop growing.

Curiosity is exactly what motivates me as a leadership development coach. Helping those I coach to learn about themselves through asking questions about motivation, dreams, and desires is ultimately fuelled by my own innate curiosity.

Keys to Building a Culture of Curiosity

1.  The world you live in is growing more complex. The route to better leadership is not to have all the answers; it is about being willing to ask the right questions. What got you here will not get you there. The systems you know and understand will become obsolete as new technologies come in and rewrite the book. Agility in your leadership stems from your willingness to ask questions.

2. Curiosity is human. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence you must embrace the fact that they are bounded by what has gone before. AI can find answers quickly and put the data in different forms so it definitely has a role, but it cannot originate the curiosity you have as a human being. Building a culture of curiosity will mean you are future proofing your business.

3. Curiosity as to how you can lead people better. This will take you on an inner life journey to understand what makes you tick, how you impact others, how you make decisions, and what sorts of things drive you.

4. Creating an environment that invites questions and promotes curiosity about customers, colleagues, the products or services you offer. When you reward the curious then that behaviour will become the norm. It will be important to recognise and hear all on your team and in your organisation to create a culture where those you lead feel safe to bring those ideas, ask questions and explore new ways of doing things.

5. Curiosity starts with you. When you are curious about those around you then you model behaviour others will follow. As I think back to my school days, putting your hand in the air and asking what could possibly be seen as dumb questions was always a risk. When you enter a room where you know you are the expert perhaps it is time to change rooms to get in a place where you have to be curious in order to grow.

Curiosity must be cultivated. Curious people are needed because they are wanting to improve, look at doing things differently and navigating paths through complexity. All hugely valuable in the environment organisations operate in today.

Getting yourself in front of a coach will give you the space and freedom to be curious. I would love to hear from you. You can contact me here if you are curious:

Photo by Gary Butterfield on Unsplash

Mark Billage

Mark Billage

Mark’s passion is to help realise individuals’ potential, be they leaders or team members, through empowering organisational culture. He has spent 7 years leading an organisation based in the non profit sector. In that time, he focused on creating a culture that enabled and empowered individuals, with the aim of seeing a high performing team better able to achieve the organisation’s mission.

Our Vision

To train and equip leaders to transform culture, build successful teams and organisations where everyone is seen, heard and valued for their unique contribution.

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