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Curiosity – answering the call to courage

We’d all like to think we’re curious; intrigued by seeing new things, meeting new people, open to new ideas, intrigued by new ways of doing things and spending time on self-reflection.

Treasured moments in my days are when I get to watch my gorgeous grandson, Harry – and soak up his wildly curious mindset. Investigating every new sight and sound, playing with words and making up his own language. Looking at the world though Harry’s eyes is exciting, playful and fun. Curious.  

At some point in our younger lives, we all start to become influenced by our environments, and our belief systems start digging in based on our experience and cultural ‘norms’. We then go through much of our adult life finding ways to confirm that what we know to be right, is right! It’s a self-limiting belief system and fraught with pitfalls. 

What happened to the curiosity? To our ability to seek multiple perspectives, and be open to the possibility of a better way?

Brené Brown reminds us that it takes courage to lose our ‘need to know’. To stop controlling, and to start sitting with the discomfort of practicing curiosity, asking more questions of people. Sure, it’s vulnerable, loaded with uncertainty and emotional exposure. And from her research findings, absolutely worth the effort.

Curiosity may come naturally to some, but for many it’s a skill we have to re-learn. And practice! 

Curiosity is your killer leadership superpower in 2020. The one skill that’s going to help you/your people ride waves of change, grow innovative and creative thinking and make better decisions.

To grow our curiosity starts with spending more time in self-reflection and growing our own self-awareness. Awareness around those limiting beliefs, any biases (yes, if we have a brain, we have a bias). Spending time journaling every day is a powerful self-reflection (curiosity) tool.

Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking, ‘so how can I start growing curiosity in my team’? 

Here are some ideas for you:

  • At the end of meetings, introduce a VEA curiosity ritual through asking these 3 questions:
  • What did I/we value?
  • What excited me/us?
  • What made me/us anxious?
  • Encourage ‘circling back’, giving people permission not to know, and rather to say, let’s think about this and circle back with different options at our next meeting
  • Inject some fun into meetings by bringing in a ‘devil’s advocate’. This person has permission to ask many questions of the group & to encourage them to look at issues from multiple perspectives
  • When someone starts providing solutions too quickly, have a previously agreed hand signal that reminds them to switch from being a ‘knower’ to asking a great question 

Leadership in 2020 needs to be wildly curious at all levels.

Curiosity is what’s going to set the thriving organizations apart from those who get stuck in the knowing – the ‘always been done this way’ mindset. 

The need has never been greater for more courageous, curious leadership, and for the world to develop more leaders worth following.

Cheers Alison

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