When Alice fell down the rabbit hole, she set off on an adventure, that would lead her to make this statement. With each new discovery, and the more curious that she became, the more curious and stranger Wonderland seemed to her.
She did more than step out of her comfort zone and did more than ask standard questions to get basic information, and the dialogue of Lewis Carroll’s classic is anything but straightforward. How often as leaders, do we miss opportunities to explore and grow with our team, and with our organization because our questions are looking for ‘just the facts’ rather than exploring the potential thought-provoking richness of the answers?
I am not suggesting that we stop looking for facts, data, and evidence-based approaches to support successful organizational growth, nor engaging in a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the next staff meeting. However, I invite you to consider how increasing your curiosity within your leadership role can be a place of untapped personal and organizational growth.
Within New World LeadershipTM we begin by learning about ourselves, so we may better learn about, and work with, others. We ask ourselves hard and heartfelt questions. Our first layer of curiosity is to explore why we do what we do. What are our driving forces? How do they manifest in our beliefs, behaviours, actions, and interactions? Conversations that occur between leaders in our sessions reveal that often people with similar motivations act on them differently, or those who are behaving similarly are doing so for very different reasons, and likely getting different results. We come to realize that things we recognize in others may instead be our own projections: places, where we think we don’t need to ask a question, can instead become our greatest locations for unintended misunderstanding.
By starting with ourselves, and sharing this exploration in curiosity, the transformation begins. We examine how we currently lead ourselves, and then move to discover how this informs our engagement of curiosity in relationship to others. We investigate, and challenge, the very questions, and contexts, we use in these relationships, to see if we really are getting the answers and engagement needed for success and a culture of personal accountability.
Curiosity and vulnerability are sources of growth and accountability in Transformational Leadership.
A recent project with a client to create an engaged and accountable corporate culture is taking their leadership, and their organization, on an enlightening journey. The leadership team are living and embodying the curiosity which they explored in their Transformational Leadership process. Knowing that culture is created based on how beliefs, behaviours, and actions are embodied by leadership, and wanting to ensure that engagement and shared values are part of this new collective culture of accountability, these leaders are finding themselves asking new questions and in new ways. They are reflecting on past engagement practices and challenging themselves with new ones in a process that balances structure and measurable tasks and goals, with organic curiosity, and adaptation to responses, to ensure the value of the questions and richness of response, and outcomes.
Their leadership is recognizing places where old energy practices, formats, tools, and expectations cannot provide them the answers, or the corporate culture, that they strive to create.
They are engaged in a process of curiosity, about themselves, and their organization from the frontlines to the C-Suite. Having recognized that even with their shared values as a leadership team, there is diversity in their driving forces and methods for getting results. They know that similar diversity exists throughout their organization. They are using their curiosity to learn more about that diversity and how to best engage their entire team in a process of culture creation. They are going down rabbit holes and asking questions that they may never have foreseen before this process, and certainly not before their own Transformational Leadership experience.
Their journey is an ongoing one, and the results to date are insightful and inspiring. One inspiring part of this process is watching Leaders use their curiosity. They are exploring better ways to learn about what motivates others, and what meets the collective needs of the team in a collaborative process where dialogue, curiosity, exploration, and vulnerability are encouraged. Providing the tools and context to facilitate a Transformational Leadership process for an organization is a rewarding and heartfelt experience for us at Change Innovators. What reinforces our commitment to what we do is when we see Leaders use those tools to further cultivate their skills personally, and within others. Here we are witnessing the seeds of a culture of accountability be sown. All because they are empowered by their own curiosity, and open to the adventures and growth that will follow.
Are you brave enough to be just as curious with your team?
Sharon Blady Ph.D.,
Faculty Change Innovators Inc