You never know where a conversation could lead you. It can start out with a simple, “hello” and lead to a short chat that ends quickly, or could turn into hours of discussion; but only if you let listening and curiosity take over.
The power of curious is really about not setting an agenda; about not being so set on an end result that you avoid or overlook or completely ignore the interesting, engaging, and authentic people that are sitting right in front of you. They might have so much to offer, if you simply listen with a curious ear.
Try this in your next one-on-one or relationship-building meeting: Focus on asking good questions that lead from one to another through curiosity. Remove the need to reach a conclusive objective. I experimented with this exercise in a coffee-chat debrief with a client. The purpose of the coffee-chat was to get feedback on a session I had just facilitated for his team. (I am always interested in feedback as it helps me become a better coach and facilitator). After receiving the feedback, I asked a number of questions that while, relevant to the feedback, also helped me better understand his team, their processes, their work and their clients. At the end of our time together (30 minutes led to 60 minutes), he was impressed by my interview skills and asked me to facilitate another session for his group.
I was amazed at the power that this type of conversation holds. Not only did I allow myself to be open to what could happen, I also was able to create a safe environment that allowed my coffee-companion to be open as well. Less pressure, more honesty, more connection, leading to a better relationship – all thanks to curiosity.
Think about this as a leader – How can the power of being curious impact my team?
It can lead to:
- Elimination of personal agendas
- Removal of silos
- Better understanding of priorities and mission
- Ability to visualize success
- Opportunity to learn from mistakes in a judgment-free zone
As you approach your next relationship-building opportunities & meetings, try the following to prepare for the power of curious to kick in:
- Allow the person you are meeting to set the agenda, if any at all
- Put your phone, tablet and/or pen away, and be present with undivided attention
- Ask for clarification and further details or examples as often as possible
- Concentrate on what is being said, not what you will say next
The power of curious comes from listening, being truly present. Your curiosity will model the way for others to be curious. It allows creativity to brew and build, relationships to strengthen and grow, bridges between groups to build, and foster momentum that can change the future.
How do you practice curiosity in your leadership? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.