Whether or not you want to be a leader, most of us would agree that being looked up to and admired is a good thing. Yet, the qualities that we see as admirable are changing along with our societal norms. One behavior, however, that will guarantee that you are seen as someone to be admired is curiosity.
Curiosity is becoming a behavioral habit that everyone needs to adopt. Why? Because our workforce is steadily mirroring that of our population and includes a diverse set of people. Differences can span from culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual preferences, and, of course, political leanings. With more diversity comes conflict and conflict can be diffused with the simple act of being curious, and that's become a necessity for anyone in a leadership role. Being curious allows a leader to be open to new ideas and perspectives, and insures that he or she will motivate others. Here are three ways to immediately build a habit of curiosity in the face of differences.
1. When you are exposed to a person whose ideas are different from yours, rather than fall prey to our natural instinct to see these differences as something to fear, force yourself into a mindset of curiosity. Ask: What is it like to be that person? Where does this way of thinking come from? What were the circumstances that created this perspective?
2. Focus on how learning about the differences will expand your awareness. Being curious means you can find takeaways in every interaction. Start taking note of what you learned as a result of being curious in the face of differences. Over time you will see how much you gained from these situations rather than lost.
3. Think of what created your perspective, your ideas, and your cultural norms. Think of how unique your life and situation have been and how differences are usually just that-- differences in life experience. Start sharing the "why" behind your thoughts so that others can learn why you think or act the way you do. Sharing your why creates connection more than conflict.
Being curious forces you to think beyond yourself. You'll start understanding other's perspectives and build a deeper connection with your employees. By practicing these steps, you'll be able to propel yourself and your team into a whole new level of success.