During the past year I have been on a journey. It started when I realized I’m here to be of service to others. To help them realize their full potential and realize their own life purpose. It has become a gift in which I have learned so much about myself and which has literally transformed my life.
As a part of this I have learned to use my curiosity in service of others and myself. This means continually wanting to know more than we can see on the surface. Having this curiosity means when we see something on the surface to not be happy to think we’re seeing what’s important. To look deeper and understand what’s truly there.
When I don’t let this curiosity show itself it is reflected in my coaching. The coaching doesn’t go as deep, my clients don’t get the same value from me, and simply put I don’t feel as if I’ve been serving in the best interest of my client.
Being curious in leading for change
There are dozens if not hundreds of variables involved with leading change. There’s a delicate balance to strike, and if you allow things to get too far out of balance you lessen your chances of success. For example, if you focus only on improving the processes yet do nothing with your technical practices you will get really efficient at delivering crap. Likewise if you change your technical practices and ignore the people you will have a really good platform and no one caring about building on it.
When Leading for Change one of the most powerful things I’ve observed leaders use is their curiosity. They spend time with the people and get really curious about what is happening for them.
To do this it means taking the time to be with people. To actually come into the space your team is working, and making space for them in your busy calendar. It means asking them about their weekend, their family and of course how they’re feeling about work. It’s also about not blindly accepting “oh things are fine” when it’s obvious they’re unhappy about something. It’s about being with them.
Why does this matter?
I once witnessed a team fall apart largely resulting from a leader’s lack of curiosity. This leader was so disconnected from his team he rarely showed up in their space, and as a result was insensitive to the degree to which morale had eroded. The leader was focused on meeting objectives, while the people were upset they didn’t have a water cooler in their new space. The leader was getting upset about poor quality, while the people felt segregated in their new office space down the street.
The simple fact is this manager could have had a dramatic impact on the team by simply showing up and being curious. None of the things troubling the team were insurmountable. It was my observation the team was made up of lots of smart and caring people, who would have made some incredible things happen. So if the manager had become curious about his team he would have realized how easy it would have been to motivate them.
Instead of creating something great the only thing this manager created was an exodus at a level I would best describe as catastrophic to their success.
Here’s something easy to try today. Regardless of your role at work, take a little time today and get curious. Not just a little curious. Really tap into it and get really curious about what is happening for those around you. Better yet get really curious about what is happening for you.