Most people think that curiosity is something instinctual – something that you don’t have to think about, like breathing. Mindful curiosity – consciously cultivating the ability to be curious – leads to valuable insights and understanding that those who do not question the status quo will not have.
Curiosity, and its siblings humility and open-mindedness, are leadership traits that are increasingly becoming important in these fast-changing times. Business leaders that are constantly expanding their understanding and adopting new perspectives, fueled by natural curiosity, are the people who will be successful.
Success in today’s world is fast becoming less about having all the answers and more about wondering and questioning. Curiosity will incite leaders to continually seek out fresh approaches and new ideas to keep pace with constant change and give their company a competitive edge. But curiosity may require a shift on the part of leadership. “Being more curious” seems simple enough but many leaders have gotten to their positions by having the answers, not asking the questions.
Successful leaders accept that they don’t know it all. And they don’t have to, as long as they can ask the right questions of the right people.
Here are 4 ways to refine your innate sense of curiosity and gain relevant insights that results when you express your curiosity.
Humility and curiosity go hand in hand by definition because, when you are curious, you are welcoming outside input. Asking questions naturally requires self-abasement of sorts because you are opening yourself up to the knowledge and opinions of others.
The most successful leaders balance curiosity with confidence by being humble enough to acknowledge they don’t have all the answers and confident enough to show that to others.
The difference between those who are successful boils down to mindset. Having a mindset that embraces openness and curiosity will help you keep searching until you find the best answer. The way you demonstrate an open mind is by asking questions.
Curiosity leads to adaptability because it requires you to explore new possibilities, to let go of biases and assumptions. Being results-driven is good, but asking the right questions before making decisions ensures you are on the right track.
The greatest innovators of our time are supremely curious. Think of Steve Jobs (Apple), Elon Musk (PayPal/Tesla/SpaceX), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Larry Page (Google), Sergey Brin (Google) and Richard Branson (Virgin Group), among many others. These sensationally curious leaders are all reflective, receptive and perceptive. They are all able to deconstruct the issue at hand and get to the core of it by asking “why?”
By observing people and processes, and being open to new ideas, effective leaders gain a better understanding of the problems they are seeking to solve. Curious leaders use their ability to question, perceive, receive the answer and reflect upon those insights to tackle challenges head on. And to best protect your business, learn more about the innovation solutions Lanier Upshaw offers to address your business risk.