The Curious Leader

Curious About
Why Being Curious Matters?

Being curious can play a big role at work. It turns out that it's at the core of strategic thinking. Peter Drucker coined the term "intellectually curious", an approach that is reported to be one of the most important for leaders. It's a common trait of those in the C-Suite.

Besides being able to use curiosity as a way to think differently, solve issues and discover possibilities at work, look at these additional benefits:

  • Having a curious mindset is said to increase your learning and ability to retain information.

  • Approaching disagreements from a place of curiosity disarms, maintains trust and makes for productive conversations. Rather than saying something that could put others on the defensive, saying something like, "I'm curious how that could work..." keeps your mind open to really learn where the other person is coming from while maintaining the relationship of support and trust.

The 3 Rules of Curiosity

Don't ask too many questions right away.

Consider WHY you are asking. If it's not to truly understand...don't ask.

Never ask a question to prove someone wrong or to put someone in their place.
Ways to Be Curious
Now that you know that a curious mindset has many benefits, here are some suggestions to hone yours!

  • Apply a beginner's mind: Be open to look for new and novel ways of doing things. It starts with learning new things and not jumping to conclusions about whether you'll like it or not. Think about how young children are curious.

  • Ask questions, listen and observe. Seek to understand, not explain.

  • Try something new: Take a class, read a book you normally wouldn' your mind to new points of view.

  • Be inquisitive: Ask for others' perspectives and opinions. Everyone sees things differently. *Hint: Check out the suggested book below to learn more about being curious with questions.

Be Curious with Questions

 Change Your Questions Change Your Life, by Marilee G. Adams, Ph.D., outlines the critical practices and mindset needed to be a curious leader through the use of questions.
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
An Interview with ...
The WUN's webinar speaker, Lee Miller,
Professor and Expert on Influence and Negotiations

What is the #1 thing a woman in business needs to remember about negotiating? There is no one thing that will make you a great negotiator. The good news is that negotiating is a skill that can be learned. Read books; take classes and, most importantly, practice. Time spent learning to be a more effective influencer and negotiator is time well spent. Recognizing that most things are negotiable if you know how will enable you to be more successful. Salary, promotions, assignments, availability of staff, access to resources are all generally negotiable. My daughter, co-author of our book, tells the story of how I constantly quoted hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, to her when she was growing up: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
What's the biggest way to kill your influencing success? Failure to exhibit confidence in your position. Say no when that is the answer you need to give. Say it confidently - and repeatedly, if necessary – and positioned respectfully. Say what you can do and be willing to walk away if you do not get what you consider at least minimally acceptable. Even if you don’t reach agreement at that moment, negotiations are never over. They may come back to you after a break in time. There will be future opportunities if you say no in the appropriate way. In the process you will gain respect and legitimacy.
In your book “A Women’s Guide to Successful Negotiating” you share the 3 C's of Negotiating and Influencing: Convince, Collaborate and Create. Is there one that is most important to lead with? No, they are three approaches that you can use separately or together to achieve agreement depending on who you are engaging with, the nature of your relationship and the specific situation with which you are faced. It is like a tool kit that allows you to pull out the right approach for the specific job you seek to accomplish. 
What is your advice (besides buying your book) for those who struggle with influencing without authority?
 Look at your sources of legitimacy; your expertise, credentials, your network, where you work, knowledge of the facts and your ability to present a good case as to why what you are proposing is something your target audience cares about. Preparation along with learning how to negotiate will provide you with the confidence you need to be successful.

Lee has a special discounted offer for WOMEN Unlimited alumnae. These sessions are in the NY metropolitan area.
March 22 – Strategic Influencing and Communications for Women
April 5  –   Strategic Influencing and Communications
May 3 –   Cross-Cultural Influencing and Communications 
May 10 –  Advanced Strategic Influencing and Communications