Chain Reaction Foundation

Curiosity as a Leader: Why Great Leadership Needs Curiosity

by Margaret Bell | March 16, 2017

An untruth we have often been told as youngsters is ‘curiosity killed the cat’. While it is true that curiosity and a thirst for adventure and discovery can – and frequently does – lead us beyond our comfort zones and even into potential danger on occasions, this motivation is a potent driving force which helps us to fulfil our true potential.

In the world of leadership, there is no substitute for curiosity. Without a sense of wonder and a desire to learn, you cannot lead effectively. Here’s why;

A Tendency Towards Innovation

When does innovation occur? When a problem demands a new solution and a different approach. If there is no curiosity, how can these new paths be forged? Without curiosity, innovation simply cannot happen.

Confidence and Competence Combined

Curiosity is not charging around like a loose cannon, chasing after innovative ideas on whim. Curiosity is a considered approach to new challenges and fresh solutions. This, in turn, breeds competence and confidence in your leadership abilities, as you develop the habit of navigating new channels methodically and with caution.

It Is the Only Way to Grow

A leader, it is called to guide a team or group onwards towards new and better things. If you are a leader in business, government or community, this involves examining new ways of doing things and searching out new opportunities. If you are a community leader, this means continually assessing, consulting and determining together what is best for the people in your area. It also calls for setting out clearly defined steps towards achieving the goals determined.

Developing a Unified Purpose

All groups need to be united by a purpose or a set of mutual aims. It is the leader’s responsibility to work with a senior team to define this purpose and to develop a clear path towards it. This is particularly important within families, who often find themselves growing further apart, moving off towards different goals. It is through curiosity that this unifying factor can be re-introduced, simply because curiosity and good communication are the means by which real purpose can be defined.

Curiosity as Enabler

An important factor – making curiosity a vital component of successful leadership – is curiosity’s function as an enabler. We have discussed the importance of enabling within leadership in more detail in previous articles, such as leadership redefined within the workplace, community and family. This facet of leadership requires an element of curiosity. Curiosity translates to forward-thinking, it translates to a sharp and analytical mind, it translates to using foresight to make accurate predictions on the outcomes of actions and decisions; it is this progressive, proactive attitude which is necessary if a leader is going to inspire and enable others.

Margaret Bell, AM - Founder and CEO of Chain Reaction Foundation.

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