The Curious Leader

The Curious Leader

While a business has a purpose of delivering a service or product and the employees are expected to contribute to this purpose for successful outcomes, not all employees present at work ready for success.

An unskilled leader will assume that their concept of success and what it takes to achieve success is the same as the view held by each employee. Surely what motivates the leader to be successful will in the same way motivate and engage others?

Employees who resonate with this blanket approach start to flourish. They quickly and easily build rapport with the manager. Coupled with continued evidence of success, this relationship develops. More time is spent with that employee, more positive feedback is offered and more success follows. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The employee is congratulated. The manager is rewarded.

And those who feel out of favour, experience less interaction, less feedback, less praise and less success. Another self-fulling prophecy, this employee’s performance starts to decline. But this is purely the fault of that employee and not the manager (who has runs on the board because other employees in the team are powering forward under the manager’s good leadership). The employee is not interested, lazy, difficult, unmotivated and not a good fit for the team. The manager says the difficult employee should be moved to a different team or perhaps even dismissed.

Performance Enhancing Questions

But not the curious leader. The curious leader asks, ‘Why are some of my staff performing well while others are not? Am I really interacting with all staff in an equitable manner? Why am I more comfortable to interact with some staff and not others? What could I be doing differently?’ The curious leader internalises and self reflects rather than externalises and blames others.

The curious leader knows that we present at work each day as complex human beings, shaped and formed by past experiences, each with different capabilities and skill levels, having diverse perspectives and at various stages of our inner journey to seek and understand self, others and the world.

The curious leader knows that success means different things to each employee. The curious leader is motivated to learn what success means for each team member so they can individualise their approach to engaging, coaching and motivating.

The curious leader creates a high performing team out of diverse individuals. The curious leader quietly encourages others to be curious, creative, constructive and collaborative.

The curious leader ask themselves questions, proposes hypotheses, plans new approaches, puts changes into practice, reflects on outcomes and asks more questions.

How will you awaken your curiosity?

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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.