Curiosity Makes For Better Leadership
I don’t like conflict.
And my experience working with vulnerable women showed me how hard it is to repair relationships that conflict destroys.
That’s where I received mediation training and discovered that you can use similar principles to prevent conflict in other situations.
The backbone behind these principles is solid communication. Understanding one another is the core of conflict prevention. And curiosity helps you get the ball rolling so you can have conversations that:
1) Have a positive impact on your business, and
2) Connect with your staff so you understand their overall intention.
Let’s put on our Curiosity Caps and explore this skill:
One of the principles I learned through mediation training is that we often assume the other person’s intent is negative.
What does that mean?
We tell ourselves stories all the time (e.g. I could never win a large proposal, I’m too inexperienced). Assumptions about other people are simply another story we tell ourselves.
So, the antidote to making negative assumptions about others is to be curious.
When we’re curious, we can find out what someone’s interests are.
And when we learn and understand more about them as complex individuals, we can have amazing conversations! And we can get wildly collaborative.
Keep these questions in your pocket the next time you face an unclear intention:
- What concerns you about …?
- What are the core issues here?
- What are you hoping to accomplish?
- And how would that help you?
- What are we up against here?
When you’re curious and give space for open conversation, people will tell you what’s happening.
Curiosity helps us understand what someone else’s core needs are, and then we can brainstorm ways to meet those needs. That’s how we go from Curious to Problem Solver to Leader.
Of course, you also want to be curious about yourself too.
When you have a crisis of confidence about one thing or another, be curious.
Explore why you have a strong reaction to a person, a situation, or an event.
Ask yourself questions to help you better understand what your needs are. Then, be prepared to include them in your plans. Here are a few to consider:
- What could be improved to prevent me from having a similar negative reaction in the future? What’s stopping you from doing it?
- How is my communication style impacting my collaboration efforts?
- Could there be a hidden lesson or skill about myself that I can develop further to improve my life, business, or family dynamic in some way?
The effort to be more curious will make a world of difference to yourself and the people you interact with. But it has one less obvious benefit… It helps you defy the patriarchal system.
EXPLORE THE BIGGER PICTURE
I want to leave you with this thought to keep in mind: The patriarchy manifests itself in things like internalized sexism or racism that hold us back.
The patriarchy is all about perpetuating norms and stereotypes..
And when you are curious, you dig below what the current norms are. You figure out what people (yourself included) truly need.
You are more likely to reject the patriarchy and the norms it perpetuates once you better understand yourself. Once you explore each layer of your whole.
You begin to focus on YOU and what’s important to YOU.
Curiosity will rock your foundation.
So… Go. Ask questions. And begin understanding.
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