Curiosity – Remarkable Practices, Unexpected Benefits

Where would we be without curiosity?

Curiosity is:

  1. Enthusiastic “not knowing”.
  2. Willingness to be wrong.
  3. Drive to make sense of things.
  4. Delight in surprises.
  5. Dissatisfaction with the status quo.
Maze with glowing center.

Lead with curiosity.

Curiosity and success:

When asked to name a trait that would most help CEO’s succeed, Michael Dell responded, “I would place my bet on curiosity.” Warren Berger

4 benefits of curiosity*:

  1. Achievement.
  2. Happiness.
  3. Empathy.
  4. Stronger relationships.

4 dimensions of curiosity:

The four dimensions of curiosity are what, how, why, and who.

#1. What:

What needs to be done?

Getting stuff done is the obvious question of leadership. But curiosity goes beyond asking what we need to do.

#2. How:

How do we get stuff done?

Successful leaders explore more than what and how.

#3. Why:

In a rush to do stuff, we forget to ask why it should be done in the first place. I wonder if you’re doing stuff that you don’t really know why you’re doing it.

#4. Who:

Be curious about people because leadership is about people and relationships.

Get the “who question” right and all the other questions are less complicated.

5 remarkable practices of curiosity:

#1. Complete the following sentence for every direct report. (Mary) seems most energized when (she is helping new employees).

#2. Apply the lens of energy to opportunity and challenge. “(Bob), I know you’re excited to develop your management skills. How might this new challenge move you toward your goal?”

#3. Listen to stories.

Every leader needs to know the formative stories of everyone on the team.

#4. Monitor your ratio of statements to questions.

#5. Ask two questions before making one statement.

A curious leader is prepared for nearly any situation.

Researchers call curiosity need for cognition (NFC). If you’re curious, here’s a tool that measures your NFC scale.

What curiosity practice might you add to the list?

When is curiosity not appropriate?

*Six Surprising Benefits of Curiosity (berkeley.edu)