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How to recognise a curious leader?

Curious leaders invite ideas from their teams & create the right trusting environment where asking questions is encouraged and celebrated, even dissenting ones. They are role models and are successful at driving changes given that they are curious individuals themselves. Curious leaders don't behave as if they know everything and as if they are the locus of knowledge, instead they have and promote a disposition towards acknowledging that they don't have all the answers, yet are curious to find them together with the team.

Curiosity needs champions. The shadow the manager casts is an important driver for team curiosity. Research has shown that there is a linear relationship between the curiosity profile of the manager and the curiosity appetite of the team. When the manager displays a high propensity towards curiosity (articulated in e.g. role modelling coming up with ideas, questioning the status quo, reading books, consuming online and offline learning materials),

the team would respond with a high learning footprint. The inverse was also true: if a manager does not communicate in words or - more importantly  - actions that learning is important, the team would refrain from consuming learning or volunteer for sharing their knowledge. Role modelling also consists of willingness to ask questions and actively listen for answers in meetings, and say, “I don’t know, so let’s find out” or “That’s one right answer, what’s another one?”, as well as asking for reverse feedback during our outside performance discussions i.e. 'how well am i (the leader) doing?'


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