We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths – Walt Disney
In Bits & Pieces there was a story told of a sign in the window of an English company that read: We have been established for over one hundred years and have been pleasing our displeasing customers ever since. We have made money and lost money, suffered the effects of coal nationalization, coal rationing, government control, and bad payers. We have been cussed and discussed, messed about, lied to, held up, robbed and swindled. The only reason we stay in business is to see what happens next.
Like the owners in the story you may show up at your place of business more out of curiosity for what is going to happen next than anything else. But a healthy curiosity combined with your passion can be a good thing. The discoveries of a curious leader can be transformational and help you grow beyond your current boundaries. Here are five traits of a curious leader that you need to know.
Curious leaders have an unquenchable appetite to learn.
What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies and interests? As a leader the answers are found not just on a personal level but also on a professional level. On a professional level your curiosity will lead you to learn all you can about your product, your customer, and the future direction of your industry. A curious leader will always be looking for and finding new ways to improve and build a healthy future.
Curious leaders are not afraid to take risks.
The only way to grow and move forward is to step out of existing comfort zones and attempt that which has not been tried and be willing to fail and get back up and do it again when knocked down. Curiosity is not just imagining things in new ways it is doing things in new ways. Curious leaders take risks. Curious leaders had rather fail at something big than succeed at something small.
Curious leaders are explorers.
Curious leaders are the modern day versions of Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, or Captain Robert Scott. Today we know them as Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates, to name a few. They set out to open new doors, discover new paths, and make their mark on the world. Curious leaders consider the exploration just as rewarding as the discoveries they make and we need more leaders with a sense of exploration.
Curious leaders often walk alone.
Curious leaders are not prone to sitting still and have a high energy level. Ever learning and exploring new possibilities they can be misunderstood by others who might otherwise be content with the status quo. But curious leaders keep moving forward and as a result may be found in small company. But curious leaders are needed and our lives have been enriched by lonely people such as Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.
Curious leaders cast the vision.
Curious leaders are best qualified to cast the vision because they are the ones who have already experienced it. The curious leader has been out front on the future and knows why the team needs to go there. What the curious leader now needs is a strong supporting cast to make it happen. While the curious leader is needed to identify and cast the vision he may not be the best one to execute it.
Curiosity is a wonderful leadership trait. It can position you for the future and give you a renewed sense of purpose. Where will your curiosity take you?
© 2013 Doug Dickerson
If you enjoy reading Doug’s leadership insights you will especially enjoy reading his books, Leaders Without Borders & Great Leaders Wanted! Visit Doug’s website to order your copies today.