Are You Committed to Curiousity?
“Curiosity is the very basis of education.” Arnold Edinborough
On the journey to becoming a conscious leader, commitment to learning through curiosity is the next step, and the foundation for that step involves self-awareness and learning agility.
As mentioned previously, unconscious leaders are focused on wanting to be right and consequently exhibit what is described as “below the line” behaviors. Rather than “above the line” “By Me” behaviors of being open, curious, and committed to learning, the unconscious leader reacts with a “To Me” attitude by being defensive, closed, and committed to being right. It’s not surprising as being right is connected to survival and our brains are automatically connected to survival instincts – protecting our physical wellbeing and our egos.
Consider the amount of time and effort those below the line behaviors can consume and it’s understandable why unconscious leaders are less effective in business than those conscious leaders who instead focus that time and effort in learning through curiosity. As with learning or developing any new skillset, repetition and practice is key. Those “below the line” attitudes are a natural survival instinct, so expect to drift below the line but a conscious leader will be aware when this natural drift happens and will stop and literally take a breath and ask themselves if they are above or below the line. This leader is one who is “present” – in the moment without being reactive. This allows a leader to be able to listen and empathize with others and confront and create without blame, anxiety, etc. A leader who is truly “present” can innovate, adjust, improvise and consequently be more effective in their problem solving and innovation skills.
Be aware that “drifting” will occur – but the question is how long will you remain drifting before making a “shift”. Because drifting is natural, shifting is a skill you want to master both physically and mentally. The physical shift has to come first and can happen through conscious breathing and by dramatically changing your posture. When feeling defensive we tend to hold our breath and react with certain tense body postures.
Once conscious leaders shift physically, they address the mental shift and get into a state of wonder – a state that many of us lost somewhere in childhood. Wonder is the ability to take a risk, releasing the need for control and asking questions that are open-ended and have no “right” answer. Many leaders tend to replace that sense of wonder with figuring it out. Above the line leaders are curious and are committed to learning and they ask and generate numerous wonder questions.
Conscious leaders address every interaction as an opportunity to learn. They understand what they know, are interested in what they don’t know and fascinated by what they don’t know they don’t know. They open themselves to feedback both verbal and non-verbal.
In the journey to becoming a conscious leader, commit to learning over being right, develop a list of “wonder” questions, and then share them with your team as you help them become conscious leaders also.