Your Leadership Superpower: Curiosity
In my close to 30 years of industry experience I've seen it all, from toxic leaders to incredible leaders that inspire and motivate high-performance teams. One vital characteristic is at the core of those leaders who excel: curiosity.
Why is curiosity so important and vital as a leadership characteristic?
Considering all the incredible technology developments and advances over the number of years, as an example, we wouldn't have music on our smartphones without curiosity. We wouldn't have Google Maps or mapping technology if it wasn't for curiosity, and asking what more we could do with E911 technology that came out in the early 2000s. I've seen companies succeed because of their curiosity. I've seen companies, of course, implode, because they failed to ask the question why. One such company questioned why consumers would want to listen to music on their smartphones versus asking the question: Why Not?
With all this great innovation and change, what are the five characteristics of leaders who express their curiosity?
Five characteristics of leaders who express curiosity
1. They are highly engaged, present or in the moment, and aware of their surroundings, aware of their employees and their input, aware of their customers, and aware, of course, of the competitive environment
2. They're always looking for new and better solutions. They want to challenge their organization and they want to challenge themselves to be better on a consistent basis
3. They value other opinions and experiences. Leaders with curiosity recognize the importance of having teams with a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences because it can only make the company better by bringing in a whole variety of different ideas and perspectives.
4. They know and recognize that they aren't perfect. They don't need yes-men and yes-women around them to just simply agree with their perspective or what they think might be right. They want to be challenged, and they want to look forward with differences and a different perspective to ensure that they're always on and always innovating.
5. They actually have a vision. They set the horizon for their company, for their team, and perhaps even for society. Just think of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos who both have their own unique visions for space exploration, but they're really setting an amazing horizon (no pun intended) for what might be possible.
How do you go about expressing your curiosity?
Well, there's no doubt, you don't have to be a billionaire to be curious. You have to challenge the status quo and actually care (in your core) about making a difference and affecting change. If you're sitting in your cube or you're sitting in an open-concept environment within your office, don't accept the status quo; challenge!
In order to challenge (with respect and direction), you have to always be asking six core questions. It is that simple! Step out of your comfort zone, look within for what you truly care about and where your interests take you.
Whether it's in a meeting, whether it's with a customer, whether it's in the outside environment trying to understand the competitive space.
And these six simple questions are more than just why. It's Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? And so all a tip of the hat to Simon Sinek and the Why? component, but again you have to ask more than just Why? to be able to express your curiosity, to be able to innovate, to be able to challenge, and to be able to ensure that you're not just following the status quo.
If you have any great examples of where you've expressed your curiosity and made a difference to your business, make sure to comment them below. I'd love to hear from you.
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