Sharpening our curiosity
Curiosity is one of our most valuable human assets and, for some, one of our most under-developed. I’ve been confronted to consider its value a number of times recently in working with leaders at different levels in their respective organisations.
What’s obvious is that those who have a keen sense of curiosity will likely end up in a more fulfilled and advanced place than colleagues who aren’t tempted to explore.
So why is this quality worth cultivating?
- Curiosity can help us get more engaged and involved. Supinely waiting to be told, for information to be shared/cascaded, for the direction of travel to be explained is a trait of the incurious. It’s a phenomenon I often encounter, perhaps understandably, in more junior leaders but isn’t confined to this group. If we don’t know we need to ask…it’s part of our leadership responsibility.
- Curiosity can lead to new and more effective ways of doing things. The ‘why’ question (so unconsciously deployed by young children) is a powerful tool for elegant, non-confrontational challenge, for stimulating new thinking and for prompting
- Curiosity stimulates our learning, not just building on the formal programmes we attend but prompting us to explore new things, to seek out new experiences and ideas within our organisation and more particularly out in the world. This can substantially broaden mind and skill-sets and the quality and depth of thinking and acting.
- And curiosity can prompt greater levels of creativity – as we open our minds we give greater access to new and surprising sources of inspiration as well as being prepared to experiment more, combining new ideas with existing experience or, sometimes, setting aside years of practice to start afresh and create something totally fit for purpose and that brings new energy to the people involved.
Quite simply, getting more inquisitive can boost our performance, so surely cultivating more of this quality in ourselves and encouraging it in others is an investment we should be making.