The 7 Practices of Curious Leaders

Lack of curiosity is deadly in changing times. Vision, courage, and energy, without curiosity, turn to exhaustion and irrelevance.

Curiosity indicates potential.

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Leaders who ask questions go further than those who don’t.

The 7 practices of curious leaders:

  1. Fearlessly step into the fog. Don’t let the need for clarity be the reason you turn like an ostrich from uncertainty.
    1. Clarity is the point of performance.
    2. Confusion is the point of opportunity.
    3. “Not knowing,” is the door of innovation.
  2. Freely embrace ignorance. (Or live in it.)
    1. Encourage others to know more than you.
    2. Release the need to be right.
    3. Question the obvious. “Tell me again ….”
  3. Persistently poke assumptions. You don’t know what you think you know.
    1. What do you mean when you say…?
    2. What if I’m wrong?
    3. What are we missing?
  4. Confidently invite new perspectives.
    1. Bring customers to team meetings.
    2. Create cross-functional teams.
    3. Listen to voices from other industries or sectors.
  5. Boldly believe things can be better, including yourself.
    1. Questions end when you arrive.
    2. Stop defending past performance.
    3. Compare yourself with those who are “better” than you.
  6. Tenaciously ask second questions.
  7. Voraciously read broadly.

Reality check:

You can’t run an organization and be curious about everything all the time. Every moment isn’t a learning moment.

Ship it and move on.

If there’s always room for improvement there’s never room to stabilize processes and celebrate progress. Sometimes, at least for the time being, good enough is good enough.

What blocks curiosity?

How might leaders develop curiosity?


I’m delighted to partner with Clarity Development Consulting to offer the proven “Coaching for Engagement” program. Drop me an email if you’d like to explore having Bob Hancox and me come to your organization to develop the coaching skills of your team.