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Want to be a good leader? Stay curious.

If you truly want to be a good leader, you have to be willing to poke holes in the status quo. Successful leaders thrive on new ideas and fresh perspectives, ask questions, and dig deep – even if it’s scary or against conventional thinking. Stagnant leaders often accept routine, have a narrow outlook, and hide in their comfort zones.

According to an article on management-issues.com, to be a good leader, you have to stay curious.

How to stay curious:

  1. Be inquisitive and open-minded
  2. Continuously look for ways to improve
  3. Have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge
  4. Focus on problem solving rather than on being right
  5. Be a good listener
  6. Don’t be afraid to try something new – even if it means you may fail
  7. Look at organizational processes and practices from different perspectives
  8. Don’t be afraid to consider ideas that might disrupt the status quo, even if that threatens your popularity
  9. Don’t be satisfied with superficial answers
  10. Be nimble and flexible
  11. Challenge what is expected and comfortable
  12. Don’t seek a desired answer; seek the truth
  13. Remain passionate about your work

Introducing the curiosity quotient
Along with the better-known IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional intelligence), there is the lesser-talked-about CQ (curiosity quotient). CQ is a person’s desire for knowledge and understanding.

According to a Harvard Business Review article by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, people with a high CQ are more inquisitive and open to new experiences. They find novelty exciting and routines boring. They often generate new ideas that some might consider against the grain. Research shows that people with a higher CQ are well equipped to manage complexity because they are more tolerant of ambiguity. Ultimately, they are better able to develop simple solutions for complex problems. Having an insatiable hunger for knowledge, information, ideas and solutions naturally supports an effective leader’s ability to spot trends, anticipate change and tackle challenges.

How to increase your curiosity quotient
Some people are born with a high CQ, but CQ can also be learned and enhanced with behavioral changes, over time and with practice. For example, Chamorro-Premuzic encourages people who want to increase their CQ to devote time specifically to learning, to ask questions and listen, to reevaluate the status quo and think about how it might be under-serving set goals, and to dig deep to answer the question “why?”

As Albert Einstein said, “I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious.”

At Spring Arbor University, we believe there are several right answers to the problems organizations face. Being too focused on one point of view limits potential for success and growth. Our online MBA in Strategic Leadership will teach you to challenge the status quo and encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Learn more now.

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