In this day and age of rapid development and advancements in technology, curiosity plays a great role in determining who leads and who follows. From the beginning of time, curiosity has allowed the human race to conceive and build some of the most incredible tools and inventions. Whether you think of the telephone or electricity, none would be here had their inventors not been curious.
So, why is it important for a leader to be curious, you may ask? Curiosity allows a leader to dive deeper into questions and emerge with more viable and unique solutions to solve problems and innovate. Being curious also advances the flow of communication and information within the organisation and helps with better decision-making.
How is Curiosity important as a Leadership trait?
High levels of curiosity in the workplace have been connected with increased innovation, healthier relationships between employees, better decision-making, better solutions to company problems, and overall better performance. Lets take a look at all of these in turn:
1. Increased Innovation
Curiosity encourages a leader to explore more and discover new and innovative ideas. It also pushes leaders to encourage their employees and peers to be more inquisitive. Thus, it promotes a culture of innovation within the organisation, allowing every member of the team to ask questions, seek knowledge, and be more creative.
2. Healthier Work Relationships
As surprising as it may sound, curiosity encourages empathy. When one has a curious mindset, they are likely to consider another persons situation and put themselves in their shoes. A curious leader keeps an open mind about other peoples ideas, opinions, and suggestions, which leads to healthier work relations, smoother collaboration, and fewer conflicts in the workplace.
3. Better Decision-Making
A leader with a curious mind is likely to have better decision-making skills than most. This is because genuine curiosity allows them to rise above stereotypes, move past confirmation bias, and discover the facts even if they go against their own ideas and strongly-held beliefs. A curious leader is more interested in acquiring information and gathering facts rather than always being right.
4. Improved Communication
Curiosity is all about discovery and learning. This means that curious leaders are as open to sharing information as they are to receiving it. A curious leader will be more likely to hold open communication with subordinates and peers, and this will lead to an accelerated exchange of ideas and information amongst teams and individuals within the organisation, resulting in better performance.
5. Learning Opportunities
Needless to say, curiosity provides a leader with a multitude of learning opportunities. Without a curious mind, leaders wouldnt be eager enough to capture as much information as possible. Curiosity is what allows leaders to stay up-to-date with all changing market trends and keep a tab on competition to ensure their own company is doing well.
Curiosity also enables leaders to gather useful resources for their company and employees which can lead to speedier processes and increased productivity.
6. Effective Problem-Solving
With a higher learning rate in an individual or a company, they will be able to come up with better solutions to the pressing problems and challenges their organisation is facing. Curiosity allows for creative thinking and problem-solving as it equips you with enough information about the problem and how to deal with it. A leader can then use that information to counter problems and overcome organisational challenges.
How to instil Curiosity in your workplace?
So far, weve looked at the benefits of curiosity. But how can a leader foster a culture of curiosity in the workplace? Here are some tips:
1. Empower employees & eliminate their insecurities
One way to foster curiosity amongst employees is to encourage them to care more and fear less. Caring about everything will allow them to raise more concerns, question procedures, and learn about things that they wouldnt have otherwise. But all of this would be impossible if you dont remove their fear of speaking up.
Employees can get insecure when voicing their concerns or opinions for fear that you may reprimand them or not like their suggestions. To eliminate this insecurity, you need to encourage open communication and reward people for being expressive. Once your employees know that there is room to question, it wont take them long to put on their thinking caps and curiously search for facts, answers, and solutions.
2. Create learning-based goals
Another effective method is the use of learning-based goals. Learning goals focus on skills, proficiency, and advancing your knowledge, whereas performance goals focus on more tangible outcomes such as hitting target numbers. Since learning-based goals focus on the skills being acquired instead of the outcomes, these goals usually help with long-term success rather than short-term accomplishment. Learning-based goals can promote inquisitive thinking and encourage employees to ask the right questions, explore new ideas, and solve problems on their own.
3. Slow down to create time for research and reflection
In todays fast-paced work environments, employees wrestle to balance a demanding work schedule with constant interferences like emails and meetings, meaning that they often dont have time for research and reflection. Leaders should make it a point to schedule some time each workday for the team to preserve some of their energy to look at problems from new angles and deliberate over potential solutions, as well as carefully consider new ideas. This could take the form of unstructured brainstorming sessions where the most pressing problems and the most interesting new ideas are put up for discussion.
Curious leadership can make a leader more effective in a number of ways. This single trait can completely change their outlook and how they approach questions, challenges, and problems. Therefore, curiosity is crucial in a leader and every leader should strive to hone this trait.
SeraphCorp is a Singapore-based leadership consulting firm that provides leadership development training, coaching, workshops, and bespoke programmes. Our goal is pure and simple: to strengthen the ecosystem of quality education and training in Singapore, to impact communities by building up leaders, and to have every organisation and every leader come away from our programmes fundamentally changed in some way.
Our clients include leaders and managers from all sectors and industries, while the companies we work with span the spectrum from SMEs to global corporations. Our faculty is recruited from diverse fields & industries and have previously been CEO, CFO, general manager, founders of companies, head banker and director.
Whether you need your organisations leaders to engage better with its employees or identify the leadership capabilities essential for your organisation to continue to thrive and grow, we can help you accomplish your leadership goals.
Book an obligation-free consultation with one of our learning advocates today to find out more about our programmes.
Book a Consultation here.