Embracing Curiosity as a Leadership Skill

“Curiosity is different from intelligence or creativity or even from leadership. Not everyone has those qualities,
but everyone can be as curious as they want to be, and it doesn’t matter when you start. Furthermore, your curiosity can help you be smarter and more creative, it can help you be more effective and also help you be a better person.”
– Brian Grazer, A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life

One of the best and most accessible tools you can use to improve yourself is curiosity. In fact, it’s probably a key to success, no matter how you choose to define it.

Curiosity, in my opinion, is a never-ending quest for new insight, new understanding, and new answers. It is the springboard to the things just out of your reach, and the things you never knew existed. It’s the thrill of asking questions, coupled with the stirring anticipation of revelation. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle.

Curiosity is not . . .
a simple Google search.
a question asked, answered, and left behind.
only a trait found in the creative, mischievous or in children.

You may have heard the phrases “leaders are learners” or “leaders are readers” before. These statements are, by and large, true, and much of that comes from the fact that leaders are often trying to improve themselves or their talents. They want to learn. They are curious about themselves and the world around them.

Curiosity allows them, and us, . . .
the ability to empathize with others by learning more about their story.
the opportunity to stretch ourselves beyond our current understanding or skillset.
to take risks, large and small, that may just make the impossible, possible.

By embracing the power of curiosity, we can create an environment where self-growth not only happens naturally, but is welcomed at every opportunity. This is the kind of environment where we as leaders will thrive, and bring out the best in those around us.

How can you become more curious?

1. Ask more questions. Okay, this one is obvious, but you may have inadvertently squashed your curiosity without realizing it. Maybe this is due to lack of time or priority. We all ask questions every day, whether internal or external, but do we take the time to stop and get them answered, or it is just a fleeting thought? Next time, indulge yourself and find out the answer. Better yet, share it with a friend.

2. Seek out learning opportunities. This can be done through books, podcasts, email lists, events or even social media. Once you start to seek out knowledge on a regular basis, you’ll effortlessly want to repeat the process.

3. Have more conversations. In the book by Brian Grazer mentioned above, he actively participates in what he calls “curiosity conversations.” He regularly seeks out famous, and sometimes regular, individuals that he finds interesting and that he can learn from. Sometimes these conversations led to movie-making, and sometimes they were just for his own enjoyment. You don’t have to take it as far as he does, though. You undoubtedly already know some really interesting people that you can tap into to learn more about, or learn about from the beginning. The point is just be open to the experience.

So, what are you curious about?

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