I had fun with M. on Tuesday’s InPower Women Coffee Break, talking about a topic near and dear to my heart — leading with curiosity, as in being a curious leader at work or in life, as well as making curiosity our first move. It was my second bite at the apple, and a nice chance to build on some of what we’d talked about before.
With the election only adding to the summer’s heat, this question of perspective was weighting heavily on my mind. You have power or you don’t; you have an experience or you don’t. These things matter. They influence the positions we espouse — and the politicians we support.
Where we stand depends on where we sit.
So I wanted to talk about choosing to be curious about where other people sit and, therefore, where they stand.
I had this to offer:
- Take a Curiosity Walk. Take a walk, real or virtual, around the office. Who sits where? What’s their view? How loud is the copier nearby? What funky smell is coming from the kitchen next door? Would you want to work in that space? What do they see that you don’t? What do they know that you don’t?
- “Tell me more.” I think of this as a three word welcome mat. Tell me more about your experience. Tell me more about your thinking. Tell me more about what matters to you.
- Be wise with Whys. I’m all for the “Five Whys” approach (ask why you want a particular goal, then why that is true, and why that is important, and why….You get the idea: dig in to find the real reasons you think something needs doing. The answers may surprise you.) but Beth Flores’ point in our interview a week earlier really made an impression on me and I have come to appreciate that asking “why?” can also land like an accusation or challenge, as in …Ewwwww, why would you EVER think that?… So: careful with the whys. Opt instead for the “Four Ws and an H”: what, when, where, who, and how. Less aggressive, more receptive; all about being open to our own ignorance and receptive to learning.
Walking in others’ shoes, sitting in their seats, getting into their heads and hearts. These are good things.