The old saying “Curiosity killed the cat” has given curiosity a bad rap! Originally intended to curb unnecessary investigation– think busybody types; people seeking information for the wrong reasons. Curiosity is actually a powerful asset when it comes to life and leadership! I promise it won’t kill you! Quite the opposite – curiosity has the potential to take your life and leadership to the next level!
What makes curiosity beneficial? It encourages greater understanding, sparks growth, increases adaptability, and improves empathy. That’s not all! A little curiosity leads to discoveries and valuable conversations that result in significant breakthroughs, not to mention superior solutions! Best of all, it allows you to be the influential leader that’s crucial to leading successfully.
Curiosity is more a way of being than a specific trait. And it’s not just asking more questions. There’s more to it than that! Ready to embrace a more curious way of leading and doing life? Which of these habits will you start with?
1. Be Present
Being present is about focusing 100% in this moment right where you are. No multitasking, being preoccupied by your phone, or other distractions. It’s about tuning into your feelings and the beauty around you. Really noticing all that this moment has to offer; that’s when you will naturally make observations that trigger your curiosity.
Pump up your listening skills. Listen to discover and to learn. Resist the urge to judge. Listen to challenge your assumptions. Really listen. Get more comfortable with silence – fight the urge to jump in the minute the other person says the last word. Listening is an art! A skill worth practicing!
3. Participate in New Activities
Trying new activities naturally cultivates curiosity. It might be a new experience, a new restaurant, a new hobby or game. That’s just the beginning! When something is new you’re bound to have questions, right? So step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Bonus – you won’t be bored!
4. Be OK With Not Knowing
Leading doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers! It’s alright to admit what you don’t know. Most will appreciate the authenticity and it will free them up to admit what they don’t know too. It’s also the perfect set up for being an enthusiastic learner.
Being an innovative leader requires exploring new ideas and inviting the input of others. If you aren’t comfortable with being perceived as not knowing everything, it will inhibit your ability to invite ideas and suggestions from others. It may also keep you from taking risks and experimenting – other ways your vulnerabilities might surface.
5. Maintain Margin
When you’re running from one activity to another, it chokes out curiosity, putting you in survival mode. Curiosity requires space between activities for you to pause, explore, and reflect. That’s margin – the extra space between activities that allows you to breathe and get curious.
6. Practice Empathy
In order to be empathetic you must listen (#2), truly care about others, and be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. That allows you to look beyond your world and realize that there’s more to learn and discover! That takes a bit of creativity, especially when the other person’s experience is something you’ve never experienced. And that’s where the curiosity kicks in and you have a chance to ask relevant questions (#10)! Relaying back what you believe you heard lets the person know they’ve been heard and gives them a chance to clarify anything you may have misunderstood.
7. Challenge the Status Quo
It’s no mystery – if you keep doing the same thing you will get the same results. It takes a brave leader to ask powerful questions that enable the status quo to be considered from a fresh perspective. New possibilities and breakthroughs happen when you encourage culture where people have the freedom to ask questions.
8. Lead With A Long-term View
Leading with a short-term view is considering what people have to offer you right now. Utilizing your people’s strength is not a bad thing. It’s a necessary thing. A long-term view requires a bit more curiosity! It’s about taking an interest in beyond this moment –and being curious about what goals, dreams, etc. others have so that you can assist them to moving in a direction best for them not just to for you. Being for others in this way increases your influence. Who doesn’t want to team up with someone who is on their side?
9. Dwell on Possibilities
Every challenge is an opportunity to dwell on the problems or the possibilities. Which way do you naturally gravitate? Putting your energy into coming up with creative “what ifs” will stimulate your curiosity muscle and bring to light solutions previously overlooked!
10. Welcome Questions
Once you start practicing curiosity in your life, others will notice and copy what they see you doing. Be prepared! Don’t be threatened. Be ready to welcome questions and cultivate an environment that is eager to explore and grow.
11. Ask More Questions
Not just any questions, but open ended questions that prompt people to think and allow you to gather more information. Learn more about how to make your questions more powerful here.
Despite a serious allergy to cats, I’ve always been fond of them! My sniffles and red eyes were a dead give-a-way that I’d been playing with a cat…again! Even though I love cats, I’m thankful that you’re not a cat. For you, curiosity is a beginning, not an ending! It brings fresh zest to your life and to your leadership and opens the door to greater influence!
How will you go about intentionally cultivating curiosity?
© Can Stock Photo / tobkatrina