Curiosity may have killed the cat … but a lack of curiosity could be killing your ability to lead your people.
Because in order to be a great leader you must have a general curiosity about the people you lead.
You have to understand what makes them tick, more importantly, you have to understand the beliefs that are driving their behaviors that are creating the results they are getting … or not.
The only way I know to accomplish this is to become curious enough to ask great questions. Deeper questions about what they think, what they see as the problem, the solution, or the actions they need to take to correct a situation.
Once you ask the question, you have to be patient enough to shut up and listen. If you don’t take the time to listen and understand what they think … how in the world can you influence, lead, or coach them?
Some leaders believe they must have all of the answers and all the solutions. A leader who has to have all of the answers is a leader who believes being a leader is all about them and not their people. Actually it is a subtle form of control.
Micro-managing is another form of control. Have you ever worked for a leader who micro-managed you? They believe in command and control and so they do just that … they attempt to command by controlling everyone’s behavior. You can sometimes find them wasting massive amount of time and energy in the weeds overseeing the smallest of details and getting into everyone else’s way.
Trying to control someone else, having to have all of the answers, and micro-managing are behaviors that are rooted in fear. Although most leaders who are exhibit these behaviors would never admit it … they rationalize this as their job.
Fear of what you may ask? Fear that they will lose control, fear that they will look bad, fear that they are not respected as a leader, fear that their people won’t deliver, fear that their people will not do it the exact way they would do it, etc..
The sad thing about leaders who attempt to control others is that the underlying message their people receive is that they are not valued and their opinion doesn’t matter. Employees who do not feel valued is the single biggest contributing factors to employee disengagement, low productivity and high turnover. Think about it … would you give your all at work if you felt devalued and unappreciated? Would you stay?
If you want to be a great leader … stop controlling and start getting curious. Ask questions to understand just who the heck you are leading and what they think. Take the time to ask the right questions so your people can begin to discover their own solutions to their problems. And in doing so you will help them to reach their optimal productivity and highest potential. Need some help? Here is a place to start.
As I said … curiosity may have killed the cat but a lack of it will certainly kill your success as a leader.