Right now, take a moment and think about your childhood and the way you learned things. You might recollect that you asked your parent’s many questions and were generally more inquisitive than you are now.
Or, perhaps, you tried some things that were generally frowned upon to see what was going to happen, and then you got in trouble for it. You learned through experiences, but some power drove you to make these experiences happen.
This power was curiosity.
You might have noticed that this power leads all children in their learning habits. But unfortunately, as we grow up, our curiosity often goes dormant under pressure from societal norms.
We are often told what to learn and do and the way we should do it. As a result, many of us lose passion for learning, which curiosity fueled when we were kids, and our actions become automatic, almost to the point of robotic.
However, if you awake your curiosity, it can become one of your strongest features as a leader, helping you discover new heights and inspire other people.
So, today, we’ll look at how to foster curiosity and use it to become a better leader.
What Makes Curiosity a Leadership Quality?
When asked about what he values most in a leader, Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Inc., said that he would place his bet on curiosity.
This quote, according to Harvard Business Review, defines the importance of this quality in leaders. The source also features a PWC poll that proves this point, as more than a thousand CEOs name curiosity and open-mindedness as crucial for successful leadership.
So, why is curiosity so important for being a good leader?
- Curiosity makes you human. It’s a myth that a leader should know the answers to anything. In reality, however, seeking answers and knowledge makes you more relatable and promotes the same qualities in your employees, facilitating the growth culture in your team.
- You become more creative. Every famous leader would confirm that conventional ways of tackling problems don’t always work. On the contrary, the most unexpected and creative solutions are sometimes the only way out.
- Curiosity helps you become adaptable. What can be more important in the fast-changing environment we live in? A curious leader is always up for a new challenge. Whether they know it or not, they will explore new paths and inspire others to do the same.
As you now have a deeper understanding of why you should start nurturing curiosity to become a better leader, let’s look at a few exercises you can do daily to give your curiosity a boost.
1. Learn Something New but Have a Routine
The main point of becoming more curious is to get new knowledge regularly. Exploring new subjects, even if they are not related to what you do for a living, can help you become a more open-minded and inquisitive leader.
However, remember that a routine is also important if you want your knowledge to stick. For instance, if you decided to learn Italian to gain a new skill and broaden your cultural horizons, you need to practice it as often as possible. Otherwise, this knowledge will soon get lost in the abundance of information you’re getting every day.
2. Question the Knowledge You Have
Besides getting new skills and practicing them regularly, try to place in doubt the knowledge you already have.
So, let’s say you specialize in stock markets, and you know how to determine which stocks and sectors could thrive under the current president of the United States. But what if your knowledge isn’t full and your guesses are not correct? Question your ideas and try to find new paths, as it might lead you to discover something you’ve never known before.
However, don’t go overboard with this exercise, as you are risking to start hesitating about everything, which could undermine your position as a leader. When doing this exercise, remember that you’re doing it just to train your inquisitiveness, not to become overly hesitant.
3. Read Different Sources
Lastly, to make curiosity one of your strongest leadership qualities, diversify the resources you’re reading every day and learn about something that has nothing to do with what you are normally interested in.
For instance, if you are the head of marketing at a software company, you might also want to read about marketing strategies at e-commerce companies that sell clothes or makeup. Yes, they differ drastically from your company’s path, but who’s to say you won’t find anything that could change your perspective on what you do?
Over to You
Every leader expects their team to be curious and inquisitive. But how can you demand that from your subordinates if you don’t practice what you preach?
Hopefully, our take on curiosity as well as the effective exercises we introduced today will inspire you to foster your curiosity and become a better leader who sparks and nurtures the need for continuous learning.
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