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Curiosity and Leadership

People often ask, “What is the most important trait for a leader to possess?” While there are many opinions on this I believe it is curiosity.

Why do I say curiosity?

Curiosity is key to learning and growth. Curiosity is what inspires leaders to ask great questions. Curiosity is a key element of vulnerability and intellectual courage. Curiosity enables you to raise your hand and say,

“I don’t know.” or “I don’t understand.”

Curiosity leads to asking, “Who can help me with this?” Curiosity inspires you to ask for other people’s opinions and ideas. Curiosity results in actually listening to the opinions and ideas of others.

Curiosity builds relationships because of your interest in other people. It shifts you to be focused on being interested instead of being interesting. Curiosity leads to asking, “How can I be of service to others?”

Curiosity inspires you to read both broadly and deeply. Curiosity inspires you to reflect on what you are reading, seek ways to connect the dots and find applications for the new knowledge. Curiosity inspires you to find out what others are reading and learning. Curiosity allows you to feel comfortable with surrounding yourself with unread books to remind yourself how much you still have to learn.

Curiosity inspires the leaders to strive for continual incremental improvement. Curiosity encourages you to ask, “What does excellence look like?” Curiosity inspires you to strive for excellence understanding it is a journey, not a destination. Curiosity prioritizes effort and process over outcome.

Curiosity drives you to challenge your assumptions. Curiosity encourages you to continually be seeking to determine where your blindspots are. Curiosity leads to asking, “What does the research and the evidence tells us?”  Curiosity then asks, “How do we apply the evidence and use the research to inform our actions?”

Curiosity requires humility and courage. As Jay Hennessey says, “Humility is the enabler for curiosity.” Curiosity leads to continuous learning, which leads to to competence, which leads to confidence, which leads to credibility. Curiosity results in this cycle continuing indefinitely.

Curiosity embraces the Infinite Game and the Infinite Mindset. Curiosity asks, “How do I honor the past, focus on the present and invest in the future?”

What is the most important trait for a leader to possess? My answer is curiosity. What would your answer be?

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey. Choose well, keep learning and enjoy the journey. The Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop can help you on your leadership journey.

Brian Willis