Curiosity Vital for Management and Staff

This is our final week of our series on curiosity. To help further our understanding of the topic, we’ve included a Q&A with Sylvia below. This is Part II of II!

It would seem that executives and managers should grasp the big picture with ease.  In your coaching experience, do you find that they are generally clear about the big picture?  What role does curiosity play in working toward that bigger picture?

While it seems that executives and managers should grasp the big picture, some of them don’t.   And others think they do when, in fact, they don’t quite see it accurately or comprehensively.  The folks in leadership positions must seek clarity around the organizational big picture and constantly ask themselves how their activities, tasks, and projects align with it.  Further, they need to ask their employees questions such as:  “How do you see your idea fitting into our business plan?”  Or, “What strategies can we add to our current marketing plan that will help us achieve the goal of expanding our reach into neighboring counties over the next two years?”  Or, “Why do you support X idea over Y, when Y could help us nail our sales goal faster?”   The leadership demonstrates curiosity by regularly posing strategic questions to both themselves and others.

What tips can you give for managers to aid in, and ultimately motivate, the curiosity of their employees?

My immediate response is MODEL it and REWARD it.  Managers need to understand that employees observe their behavior and imitate it regularly.  Because this is true, they are in an ideal position to demonstrate healthy curiosity all day long:  by asking probing questions in meetings; by inviting people’s input on project planning; by drilling down to uncover the real cause of a conflict; by asking people how they feel about certain changes; by soliciting feedback on their own professional image; by asking individual staff how they want to grow over the next six months.  Employees absorb their boss’s behaviors into their pores—and what goes in eventually comes out.  They will demonstrate curiosity in the same ways they were “taught.”  This will happen naturally.  Often without realizing it….when it does happen, managers need to recognize it and reward it.  All of us know that whatever is rewarded gets repeated.

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