“Why did van Gogh kill himself?” my 5-year-old daughter asked this morning while eating breakfast. “Did he think there was no happiness left in the world?”. Her continuous random questions drive me crazy and make me smile.
The world through the lens of a child is full of curiosity – about everything.
When do we stop being so curious? Why do we stop asking so many questions?
The most successful leaders, however, all have one thing in common – curiosity. Their thirst to take opportunity: give it a go, do it wrong, get it right – again and again – creates a life of learning. Keeping safe in our status quo skills curiosity.
Are you being curious enough? What if you lived life as an enquiry?
Here’s how the curiosity of enquiry can drive your leadership success:
1. Ask questions. Don’t accept the first answer as the best answer. Question further to stretch the thinking – yours and others. It takes courage because the process is frustrating. However, pushing past the boundaries of ‘easy’ thinking leads to better insight, ideas and solutions.
Steve Jobs, for example, never made assumptions. He approached each problem set with a voracious appetite for learning, and to learn, he had to question.
2. Value diverse perspectives. Great minds don’t think alike. Being non-judgemental and using sound judgement in decision making is a skill and practice. When you listen first and speak later your message adds value rather than opinion. You’ll build influence.
3. Get to know people for who they really are. Diversity isn’t a tick in the box. It’s a deep appreciation of who people are. Develop bonds with your team past the confines of their role and what they do. It shows that you care. It builds trust. It enables you to find the talent that sits within people that even they didn’t know they had.
4. Be driven to be better rather than to look good. The only thing you control is you. Leadership is a journey of self- improvement through your ability to self-reflect: to see and know yourself from different perspectives. An EGM at Telstra told me “You have to be who you are. The authenticity of that conversation is the greatest unlock for leadership”.
What could you be more curious about to help you learn faster, build deeper relationships and become an even better leader?
P.S – I told my daughter there is happiness everywhere. You feel it when you do things you love and when you’re with people you love. We smiled at each other.