Do you encourage your team’s curiosity? I was always curious about other departments at the companies where I worked. Browsing the intranet and looking through open folders. I viewed marketing projects, future construction blueprints, market research reports, and more.
This genuine curiosity allowed me to better understand different roles in the company. It had a positive impact on my performance because I understood behind-the-scenes processes. My unbridled curiosity created opportunities to learn, build relationships, and collaborate.
Jeni, a former manager, encouraged my curiosity and championed my ideas. She shared two pieces of wisdom that stuck with me:
- “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”
- “If it doesn’t create an ethical, legal, or financial risk, then go for it.”
She gave me permission to explore my ideas and execute them.
Give your team permission to explore their ideas and execute them.Tweet
To a young and ambitious employee, this meant the world. Her advice showed she trusted me. It gave me the confidence to pursue projects and achieve promotions. Her words stayed with me long after we parted our separate ways.
When we’re under a lot of pressure it’s easy to discourage curiosity. We micromanage performance and schedules. We dismiss ideas because we’re busy or they’ve been tried before without success. In the process, stunting our team’s learning and innovation.
How do we encourage curiosity?
- Pose questions for your team to explore. “What would happen if…? Then follow-up a week later to share answers and discuss.
- Encourage your team to find their own answers. Many times they just need you to point them in the right direction.
- Share new insights and allow them time to explore the details. “Did you know…?”
- Make resources easily available online or in their office space. Access is instrumental in encouraging creativity.
Encouraging curiosity creates an empowered team. A team where members feel confident to find and create their own solutions. Confident team members are able to better serve customers. This confidence creates a ripple effect. Innovation and productivity increase thus improving business performance.
What one thing will you implement this month to encourage curiosity?