Importance of Staying Curious

Everyone gets to be a leader, the opportunities just come to us in diverse ways. Whether we are in a position of authority or seen as a leader in our peer groups, or if it is within our family or ourselves, we all have the choice to lead or follow and if we are going to lead, we should strive to be the best we can be.

A trap that many people face is thinking that they need to know it all, have all the answers and knowledge to lead.But this is a lie that our ego tells us and is a sign of an insecure leader, instead, great leaders can lean in to the unknown and use the skills and knowledge of their team to support them and stay a curious a little longer. To do this you will need to:

Really listen to what is being said. We get so busy thinking about how we are going to respond that we stop paying attention to what the other person is saying and really trying to understand what they are trying to communicate to us. Give your communication partner time to get out what they are saying, listen not only to the words, but the tone.Pay attention to facial expressions and body language, this will give you more information and a better understanding of what they are communicating to you.

Seek to understand.We naturally jump to conclusions and fill in gaps with stories that we have made up and assume that the meaning I attach to words is the same as the person that I’m communicating with. This does not help us, and it does not help our communication partner.Instead, seek to understand what is being said on a deeper level. What is the other person’sunderstanding of a word or concept, what have they left out, is there context or background information missing?

Find out what is needed from you.We all like having the answer and being able to save the day, there is no better feeling than being able to give a great piece of advice, but most of the time this will not help the other person. Instead, get clarity on what is needed and wanted from you before jumping all in and trying to solve a problem that may not even exist.

Ask awesome questions. To do this well you need to be able to ask great questions and give your communication partner time to answer them, try to get comfortable in silence and not jump to fill crucial thinking time. Michael Bungay Stanier is the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company and is best known for his book The Coaching Habit and has spent years collecting questions and these are the 7 best that he has found.

  1. What’s on your mind?
  2. And what else?
  3. What’s the real challenge here for you?
  4. What do you want?
  5. How can I help?
  6. If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
  7. What was most useful for you?

When we lead with curiosity, we can tap into the gifts of the people on our team. We give them space to grow and find meaning in the challenges that they face, and we also get the chance to learn alongside them.

If you want to hear more about how to stay curious a bit longer you can check out Michael Bungay Stanier’s episode on Brenè Brown’s Podcast Dare to Lead (link below)or Michael’s books, The Coaching Habit, and the Advice Trap.

Link to podcast:

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