Curiosity. Like a toddler that asks “WhyWhyWhy?”… curiosity shows interest. It shows that you don’t know it all. That you care. That you are a learner, even if you’re also a leader.
The only thing I’ve ever found truly fascinating is people. How they think and behave. I talk to them at checkout counters and in the park. I observe them on the street and in their cars.
What challenges have they faced? What makes them happy? I wonder about their backgrounds and how their lives turned into what they are now. I’m genuinely curious.
And I’ve spent most of my life thinking about, studying, practicing, and (eventually) speaking and training on how to build and sustain great relationships. I’ve geeked out on communication, trust, emotional intelligence, and human potential well before pursuing a career in these areas.
Why are some people optimists and others perpetual cynics?
What makes conflict easier for some than for others?
How do you build authentic relationships and trusting teams?
Lately, I’ve found myself giving the same “homework” assignment to several of my clients. Its simplicity is almost laughable, but it works:
- Ask more questions.
- Then listen to the answers.
Whether you’re someone who’s comfortable speaking with others and tends to talk easily, or you’re more reserved and may even feel nervous sharing your ideas or having conversations at meetings or gatherings… Curiosity is a fantastic communication skill.
Here’s how you can try it out:
You struggle to connect with someone on your team (or your teenager or in-laws, your pick).
Ask them something… What ideas do you want to share? What are your thoughts on XYZ? What do you have going on this weekend? What are you watching lately? Tell me more about XYZ.
There’s a persistent challenge at work.
You decide to have some informal conversations to seek possible resolutions. You might ask folks… What do you think is going well here? What do you think may be getting in our way or keeping us stuck in this area? Do you have any ideas we could try? Is there anything I’m not seeing or don’t understand?
Get curious with yourself.
We’ve just kicked off 2023. I like to use the new year as a good excuse to both reflect and recreate my wishes and intentions. Why do I keep doing things over and over? What could I try instead? What do I really want? What would move the needle and help me get closer to it? What am I not seeing/doing that could be helpful?
Don’t forget the second part of the homework… LISTEN.
Really pay attention. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak or plan your response while they’re talking. Truly try to stay present and listen.
Even when you’re asking a question of yourself. Don’t force yourself to have the “right” answer. Maybe there are many possibilities.
As always, I really appreciate each of you (and your CURIOSITY that keeps you in this conversation with me!).
And if you missed last month’s piece on “The Big 3: Communication, Trust, and Relationships,” please check it out HERE.
I’m sending you courage, connection, and curiosity.
P.S. I’ve been booking out some great work for this new year. If you’re ever interested, here are 3 ways that I can help you or your organization.
- Keynote speaking on campuses, conferences, and companies.
- Leadership coaching that supports you in leveraging your strengths and building your capacity.
- Team training and development that builds trust and connection, leveraging Emotional Intelligence.
If you want to talk further about bringing my work to you, your team, or your school — please schedule a call HERE.
SOME OF MY LATEST FAVORITE BOOKS & RESOURCES:
- For historical fiction, spy thriller, and feminism: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
- For a memoir on resilience and determination, read with a powerful voice: Finding Me by Viola Davis (audiobook)