Influential leaders need to have many traits to successfully lead their team.
They need to be resilient, focused and willing to lead from the front. They also need diplomacy, self-awareness and transparency to establish trust in their team.
However, there is another quality that the best leaders possess, and that’s curiosity. Often overlooked, curiosity can turn a good leader into a great leader.
Having intellectual curiosity, or a willingness to learn means that as a leader you are always moving forward – looking for new ways to do things, new ways to develop your team and embracing new technology and ideas.
Conversely, leaders who lack curiosity are likely to be more locked in themselves and their preferred way of doing things, unable to move forward. They are also more likely to surround themselves with people who are like them, creating a team of like–minded individuals who won’t challenge the status quo.
So, are you a leader who is curious to develop and move your team forward, or are you in danger of stagnating within your inflexible parameters?
Here’s how to see just how strong your curiosity muscle is…
Are You Open to Innovation?
Do you have a willingness to learn?
With great innovation come great solutions, so making sure you are open and receptive to new ideas is pivotal in leadership.
Leading means not only looking at problems in a different way to come up with solutions but to encourage your team to come forward with new ideas and suggestions for better procedures and working practices.
The ability to see opportunities for growth and expansion as well as embracing technology will enable your business to grow, regardless of the starting size, and help you stand out from competitors.
Forbes describes innovation as “no less than the lifeblood of long-term development and growth”.
So, if you are looking to lead by example, you need to ensure you are receptive to new ideas – inspiring and encouraging your team to consider new ways of doing things that will enable your business to progress.
Do You Question Your Assumptions?
Sometimes leaders can be guilty of believing they are always right and the traditional way of doing things is working “just fine”.
Are you guilty of resistance?
The danger of being set in your ideas and opinions is that you are not willing or ready to embrace change. Also, by doing so, you risk being left behind by others who are more willing to take the risk and try something new and different.
Leadership is about pushing your boundaries and questioning your current assumptions.
This is the advantage that comes with developing your curiosity muscle – you always want to know what if:
What if we looked at changing our procedure to enable X to be made more quickly?
What if we developed Y into a new market?
What if we expanded into Z and launched at an international conference?
Whatever your business area, it’s the what–ifs that could be the start of something big.
Developing a preference for considering different solutions to a situation will not only make you more likely to hit upon a fantastic idea, but it will also make you more tolerant of ambiguity and better able to positively handle the obstacles that life inevitably throws up.
Do You Admit to Your Mistakes?
Being willing to hold your hand up when you’re wrong is something I’ve witnessed many leaders struggle with.
Some leaders believe that they must always be right (or at least, not admit to being wrong), as to admit to mistakes could be seen as a weakness or failure by their team.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
A willingness to admit to mistakes, not try to pin the blame on others or try to justify actions that are, quite frankly, unjustifiable, will make you stand out as an inspiration to your team.
The ability to handle your mistakes with self-awareness and self-regulation, see them as a valuable learning process that can help you grow will develop your confidence and provide inspiration and motivation to your team.
Are You Interested In Other’s Opinions?
To be a great leader, you need to be willing to listen to different points of view. And not just listen when they are presented to you – but to actively seek them out.
Approaching situations without prejudice puts you in the driving seat of leadership, embracing open-minded responses to enable you to focus on understanding and motivating different people.
This will ultimately enable you to create an inclusive culture and a diverse team who are encouraged to develop their own curiosity.
A team who are encouraged by their leader to think outside the box and present their opinions and ideas are more likely to be innovative and take ownership of their role in your organisation, working together as a whole to accomplish tasks and drive the business forward to success.
Are You Energised or Stifled by Complex Situations?
The best leaders who have developed their curiosity muscle don’t tend to have a need for closure.
In other words, they are excited and motivated to look for different options in any given scenario without the need to settle on one solution just to get everything done and dusted.
They see it as a challenge, rather than a situation to be feared and dealt with as soon as possible.
This positive mindset makes them more tolerant of the little complexities and stumbling blocks life tends to throw up – giving them the ability to regulate their reactions and to deal well with difficult or unexpected situations.
So, developing a healthy curiosity muscle will help you be:
- Open to suggestions and differing opinions and options
- A good listener to other’s ideas
- Prepared to try something different
- Able to question your motivations and decisions and learn from them
- Inspirational and motivate your team to help build a culture of collaborative innovation
All of which will ensure that you – and those who work for you – are futureproofed.
I hope that these tips have proven useful and will help you develop your curiosity muscle and ultimately achieve your aims.
Here at Zestfor, we now offer programmes to help you to optimise your leadership skills and personal development and get the best out of your team. If you would like to find out more, then send a quick email here.
Until next time,
Can We Help?
Zestfor specialises in developing Training programmes and resources scientifically tailored for technical markets – including Pharmaceutical, IT, and Life Sciences.
Our blend of in-classroom, online, and virtual live-stream delivery methods will engage and assure even the most introverted team members from the first meeting – whether face-to-face or virtually. To have a brief chat, call us on 0845 548 0833. Alternatively, please email our team here.