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Curiosity as a Core Leadership Value

Published by Rachel Powers

Link to original article can be found here 

Leadership is the engine of innovation. Leaders who embrace curiosity create an environment where employees feel safe to explore new ideas, take risks, and challenge the status quo. This type of leadership has been shown to lead to higher-performing, more-adaptable organizations.

The most successful leaders are those who understand that curiosity is a critical skill for transformative growth and change. They know that curiosity leads to innovation, and they foster a culture of curiosity within their organizations.

Curiosity is a critical skill for transformative growth and change. It is also a trait that many executives seem to undervalue or dismiss entirely.

Most of the breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions throughout history are the result of curiosity. Curiosity is merely asking questions. You use smart, strategic, thoughtful and targeted questions. When you do this, you open up a world of possibilities. Your employees will feel empowered to share their own ideas and perspectives, and they will be more likely to come up with creative ideas to solve complex business challenges.

When you make curiosity a core company value, you signal to your team that it’s OK to ask questions, to challenge assumptions, and to seek out new perspectives. A curious culture is a learning culture, and a learning culture is an adaptive culture. It’s a culture that’s open to change and innovation.

Curiosity doesn’t just benefit your organization as a whole; it also benefits leadership at the individual level. Leaders who are curious are better able to learn from their mistakes, they’re more open to feedback, and they’re more coachable.

Overcoming the fears associated with honest answers and objective opinions is a roadblock to many. Ego, arrogance, fear of being judged and fear of losing are just a few of the many reasons leaders are prevented from leveraging their curious side.

As employees climb the organizational ladder, they think they have less to learn. Leaders also tend to believe they’re expected to talk and provide answers, not ask questions.

Our cognitive biases make us the least objective source in assessing our personal behaviors or our company’s performance. Be bold, and start asking questions. Ask yourself: “What can I learn?”, “How might we make things better?,” or “What if…?”

When you commit to being curious, you set the example for others to do the same. You create a space where people feel safe to challenge the status quo and think out of the box. You build a foundation of trust and respect. And you lay the groundwork for a more adaptive, innovative organization.

So be curious. It’s good for business.

When you encourage a curious mindset in your team, you’re also encouraging creativity and innovation. Curiosity is at the heart of all discovery, whether it’s a new product, a new process, or a new way of thinking.

If you want your team to be creative and innovative, start by promoting curiosity. When you make curiosity a core value, you set the stage for transformative growth and change.

Curiosity is a transformative behavior that can unlock transformational results. There are many benefits to curiosity:

  • It leads to higher-performing, more-adaptable organizations
  • It’s the key to all discovery, including breakthroughs and inventions
  • It benefits leadership at the organizational and individual level
  • It creates a space for creativity and innovation


Questions are the engine of curiosity. When we’re curious, we naturally ask questions. And when we ask questions, we’re more likely to come up with creative solutions. So if you want to be more curious and innovative, start by asking more questions.

Make curiosity a core value in your organization, and watch it unlock the potential for transformative growth and change. Ways to bolster curiosity:

  1. Hire for a curious mindset
  2. Model inquisitiveness and curiosity
  3. Emphasize continuous learning goals
  4. Let employees explore and broaden their interests
  5. Encourage “Why?” “What if…?” and “How might we…?” everyday
  6. Encourage and reward creativity
  7. Implement a “no idea is a bad idea” policy
  8. Support risk-taking
  9. Promote playfulness
  10. Be open to change


Leadership and curiosity go hand-in-hand. When leaders are curious, they encourage others to ask questions, explore different perspectives, and challenge assumptions. This creates a space for creativity and innovation. And it lays the groundwork for a more adaptive, innovative organization. So if you want your company to be more adaptable and innovative, start by promoting curiosity among your leadership team.

Get curious: the powerful simplicity of asking great questions, to the right people, at the right time to achieve extraordinary results.leo.