Every CEO and leader faces a period of time where the company is moving along smoothly, but the team feel is a bit flat and lacking enthusiasm. It is important that you create an environment where there are constant sparks of energy in the workplace and that is where curiosity becomes invaluable.
Before we delve into ways you can enhance curiosity, here are some example questions that you can ask yourself or your team every day:
- What is the one service, product, project, idea or topic you are curious about today?
- What is the one thing you thought about today that you want to know more about?
- How does that work?
- Why do we keep finding ourselves in the same position?
- What would happen if we changed one thing?
- How can we make it simpler?
- If I were the end consumer, would I find it easy to use?
How Curious Are You?
The easiest way to influence your employees and team members, is to model the behaviours you desire. If you are always quick to answer or lack asking questions, you are showcasing a leader who lacks curiosity. For you to succeed as a leader you need to showcase your inner curiosity, as we all know we don’t have all the answers and solutions, as good questions will lead to even more questions.
People tend to shy away from asking questions due to a fear of being judged unintelligent, indecisive and somewhat incompetent. Many leaders fall into the trap of thinking they are supposed to know and provide all the answers. Recognising what we don’t know and cant do, sends a powerful message to those around us and may even motivate them to explore and learn more. Remember, there is always time for questions, as you may ask the one question that prevents the company or team from failing.
Try asking your employees and team members questions such as:
- How can I make your job easier?
- If you were leading the company, what is the one thing you would change?
- Tell me one thing that will allow our consumers and clients to enjoy a greater experience?
The answers to these types of questions will inform you how to approach what changes are required and how to prioritise them. We need to find solutions to the gaps in our knowledge and also continue to identify what other questions still require answers.
Employees will be quick to read between the lines when you don’t know the answer. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge when you don’t know the answer, as this emphasizes the value of continuing to learn and explore.
People tend to like leaders more when they ask questions. It helps build trust, develops more meaningful relationships and leads to more creative outcomes. Asking questions about ideas leads to people thinking more deeply, approach it from another viewpoint and continue striving for an answer to the challenge puzzles we are faced with.
Explore, Broaden and Learn
Do you provide your employees and team members the time and opportunities to explore their interests, other roles or just play? Allowing them to broaden their horizons and perspectives can lead to greater productivity, efficiency and performance. As Gail Jackson once said, “It’s better to train and have them leave than not to train and have them stay.”
When a company faces challenging circumstances, they tend to focus on KPI’s, results and the dreaded HR restructure. They shrink the capacity and capability of the company to identify what the root of the cause is and what solutions will allow them to re-right the ship.
Stimulating a mindset where learning leads to performance outcomes, allows employees to be better problem-solvers, acquire more diverse skillsets and produce better work. Redefine your work environment by focusing on goals that improve competence, acquire new skills and develop mastery. Those who focus on learning versus performance goals tend to be more successful and have greater levels of motivation.
Questioning is only as beneficial as the support and reward that are provided. Develop intervention’s that stimulate and accelerate curiosity, such as invention sessions, creativity walls, internal TEDx type workshops or question of the day. Seeking diverse solutions and answers will allow your employees to interact and communicate more effectively. Be curious about your employees work and the way teams do their business.
Hire the Curious Ones
Look for people who possess the intellectual curiosity to explore, collaborate with others and ask great questions. The curious ones tend to perform better than specialists who stick to themselves and block out the noise. If you want to unearth a real gem then hire people who possess both the empathy to listen thoughtfully and challenge themselves by looking at approaches, decisions or puzzles from a different persons perspective.
When interviewing potential employees it is valuable to discover whether they talk about the success and support of other people when discussing projects, whether successful or not. It is important to understand whether they enjoy collaborating and do they see the benefits of partnering with people, teams or other companies with projects in the future.
Does the potential employee:
- ask questions about other areas of the company?
- show fascination in learning news ideas, identifying what they don’t know and going beyond their comfort zone?
- listen, read and watch topics and interests outside of their specialisation and industry?
- seem a bit quirky, on another planet, awkward or different from the rest of the pack?
Start With Why
Each day ask a few ‘why’s’ about the work you and your team are doing. Think about how you will utilise the answers to enhance your work and challenge the status quo.
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