Leadership & The Power of Curious

Curious-Curiosity-LeadershipYou 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:

  • Innovation
  • Confidence-building
  • Problem-solving
  • 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.

About Lora Crestan

Lora Crestan is an executive and leadership coach working with organizations that strive to build a successful company that engages, empowers and develops both their team and their clients. Lora’s focus is on ideas + action to create results.

Connect with Lora Crestan

Comments

  1. Great reminder that when we place ourselves in curiosity mode it allows us to receive more than we might have expected.

  2. I did exactly what you said in a meeting today and the connection was amazing. Thanks for a wonderful blog !

  3. I bet curiosity helped Thomas Edison go through 10,000 iterations to discover the light bulb. Curiosity leads to questions that challenge status quo. It can throw you into the deep end of things (I know that all too well). However, when used correctly, curiosity helps us find a deeper meaning for our lives. As leaders, we can’t but keep on being curious. It gives us that significant edge as we serve others. Thanks for sharing Lora.

  4. Great article. One of our newly appointed GM’s addressed a town hall meeting of about 400 staff and asked us all to be more curious going forward. Ask more questions and think more about what you’re doing and why, how you might do it differently etc. I really enjoyed this article and particularly like this:
    “Focus on asking good questions that lead from one to another through curiosity. Remove the need to reach a conclusive objective.” I always say, everyone has something interesting to tell you even if they don’t think so. You don’t always have to begin with the end in mind.

  5. Rick Lochner says:

    Most of my successes as a lifelong leader have come on the heels of two questions, “What if…?” and “Why not…?” Great post!

  6. Hi Lora,

    Love this post and the reminder to keep our curiosity in and about all things. So often, those who believe they are leaders jump to conclusions at the end of the first answer. But continually challenging yourself to gain more information – even when you think you know – is a powerful relationship builder AND learning tool. Thank you for encouraging all of us to keep a child’s curiosity in all our encounters. We could end up learning so much more!

    All the best,

    Susan

  7. Curiosity is an essential key in innovation.
    I especially like this advice “Concentrate on what is being said, not what you will say next.” Many atimes we prejudge or say we already know it or have heard it before and this causes us to detach ourselves thereby we miss opportunities to learn.

    Listening, and being truly present helps us connect deeply with others.

    Thank you Lora Crestan for this teaching, you are a great shero. Shine On!

  8. Please forgive my typo. Your name is Lora not Lori. Many thanks for understanding.
    Kate

  9. Thank you Lori for the power of curiosity. The title itself draws you in with curiosity. The list of what it can do takes us on a journey. The sentence: ” Less pressure, more honesty, more connection, leading to a better relationship – all thanks to curiosity” offers a surprise that few realize ===> Curiosity leads to more honesty. Hmm.. there’s something to be truly curious about.

    Grr8 post!
    Kate

  10. Jane Perdue says:

    Lora — great advice for individuals to go into conversations with an interested and open mind, a willingness to listen deeply, and be open to where the discussion goes. That’s a great foundation for connection!

  11. Lora,
    Enjoy reading your post. Curiosity makes us young and flexible and gives us openness. Do we all remember being young and how we listen to our grandpa or how focus were we in researching new (mostly prohibited) things?

    And yes it is all about “The purpose of the coffee-chat was to get feedback…” which I’ve described in my post “Feedback in Leadership” (http://leadershipbyvirtue.blogspot.com/2014/02/feedback-in-leadership.html) as: Feedback should be an ongoing process in which the positive is emphasized while corrections are provided to the negatives actions.

    So curiosity and feedback are definitively the ingredients of outstanding leadership!

    Thank you for your thoughts
    Cheers
    Jaro.

  12. Great inspiration Lora! I recently began having ‘informal’ patient care committee brown bag lunches with front line staff, and am amazed at the wisdom and care they bring to the table. We always start with a group question- What are your concerns? What is the one thing you could get off your plate to make your day better? What makes you most proud to work here? The first question is always the ice breaker that leads to a wealth of information. This is the information that leads to a great culture. When we listen to what is valued, value is created. Thank you for your post.

  13. Great post Lora, have shared widely, and I agree that curiosity is a major leadership trait rarely given the airing it deserves. Thanks for putting that to rights!

    Warm wishes

    David

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  3. […] Building relationships starts with connection and conversation. Learn how the power of curious can change how you build relationships and lead your team.  […]

  4. […] Building relationships starts with connection and conversation. Learn how the power of curious can change how you build relationships and lead your team.  […]

  5. […] Building relationships starts with connection and conversation. Learn how the power of curious can change how you build relationships and lead your team.  […]

  6. […] “ Building relationships starts with connection and conversation. Learn how the power of curious can change how you build relationships and lead your team.”  […]

  7. […] 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.  […]

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