2020 presented teams with disruption to their end markets and personal lives. Not even the desk and chair from which they worked was safe from change.
How do you equip teams to thrive in an era defined by change and “new normals”?
Ask them to take a lesson from their cat.
A 2018 Harvard Business Review article highlighted four benefits to ‘curiosity’.
(1) The curious explore alternatives
They are less susceptible to confirmation bias (looking for information that supports their beliefs and ignoring data suggesting they are wrong). Curious teams also do less stereotyping (making broad judgments).
(2) Curious teammates onboard more easily
They seek-out information constantly and build their own understanding.
(3) Curious teams view tough situations more creatively
They have less defensive reactions to stress and less negative reactions to setbacks.
(4) Curious teams tend toward less group conflict
Members put themselves in one another’s shoes and take an interest in one another’s ideas rather than focus only on their own perspective.
So what to do if your team’s curiosity needs a boost?
The most important may be to model inquisitiveness yourself. Most executives feel obliged to provide the answer and show ‘leadership’. However, the best form of leadership — particularly in times of ambiguity — may be to ask questions and listen with curiosity.
As an example, Toyota has maintained a lead over auto manufacturers not by inventing kanbans and lean production, but by maintaining a culture of ‘humble learning’ — of ‘curiosity’ — that is embedded in the Toyota Way.
Benefits of Curiosity
Curiosity is an important part of our personal growth and learning. With this growth comes many benefits, too. From physical to mental well-being, curiosity is an important piece of your thriving team puzzle.
Curiosity Makes People Happier
Research indicates that curiosity is related to increased levels of positive emotions, well-being, and satisfaction. In addition, it seems that the most curious people have less anxiety than others. It’s believed that those who are curious are more apt to seek out knowledge which causes the release of dopamine.
Fostering a sense of curiosity is great for you and your team. Asking questions, coming up with new ideas, and similar actions could make you a happier person.
Curiosity Leads to Higher Achievement
Curiosity has long been considered a motivator for excellent classroom learning for kids. However, research also now indicates that the same is true for adults. People in the workforce who are curious tend to have better job performance and tend to excel at learning in the workplace.
Curiosity Expands Our Empathy
Another benefit of curiosity is a higher level of empathy. The most empathetic people are those who are curious about those around them. A natural sense of inquisitiveness is to be lauded. It means team members will work to understand each other in all situations.
Curiosity Strengthens Our Relationships
Research done on the topic of curiosity, social anxiety, and positive and negative affect in interpersonal closeness gives insight into another of the benefits of curiosity. In the study, those who had a more curious nature were better at creating positive relationships. These are the right kind of people to have on your team at work.
Curiosity Helps Us Overcome Fears
When people are curious, they don’t experience as many setbacks related to fears. Curiosity means pushing beyond discomfort and taking solace in the unknown. It can drive people to take action even when fear is present.
Curious individuals are open to going past their comfort zones. If it results in learning about something they are passionate about, they’ll tread on.
Curiosity Makes Us Better Problem Solvers
Being resourceful is a must for those who are curious and determine to find answers. Team members with curiosity will ask questions until they learn whatever it is they are interested in. It’s a game to find different ways to solve any problems.
Because of this, curious team members are the best at coming up with innovative and original ideas and thoughts.
Curiosity Breeds Self-Awareness and Humility
Of the benefits of curiosity, the final one to be aware of is its impact on self-awareness. Curious people are constantly questioning their values, perceptions, and beliefs about life. These people tend to know each other inside and out. Having that high degree of self-awareness leads to humility.
These team members are willing to experiment even when it comes to themselves. Finding methods to improve skills is a common activity. Curious people are always looking to create the best version of themselves.
Want to help your team develop their own curiosity? The Teamraderie “Ode to ‘Curiosity’ in Business” virtual experience is a 45-minute wine tasting that tells the story of lawyer-turned-vintner Jim Barrett who bought a crumbling 150 acre estate in Napa Valley in 1972. Barrett knew little about wine, but hired for ‘curiosity’ and gave his team the confidence to innovate. Four years later, Jim Barrett’s Chateau Montelena produced the world’s #1 rated wine — starting a multi-decade run of producing the world’s most innovative and acclaimed bottles.