Leading with Curiosity

lead (lēd) v. – tr. 1. To show the way to by going in advance. 2. To guide or direct in a course. — intr. 1. To be first; be ahead. 2. To go first as guide. — n. 1. a. The first or foremost position. b. One occupying such a position; a leader.

I write as a recovering know it all.

Not, I hope, as an ugly, in-your-face, superior-than-thou know it all, but as someone whose former role as a senior executive with an especially long tenure in the organization was prone to make me and everyone around me believe, well, that I knew it all.

And that’s a trap, all the way around. A particularly tricky trap from which to extricate oneself, as it happens. It’s taken me quite a while to understand those golden handcuffs.

Which might explain my deepening fascination with curiosity and the fervor of my commitment to get more people to be less knowing. There’s nothing like a convert.

S. Leonard Rubinstein wrote, “Curiosity is a willing, a proud, an eager confession of ignorance.” That is to say curiosity is not something that may come easily to people who are accustomed to being the smartest one in the room or are invested in the supremacy of their expertise.

thinkerWhat does it take for a person in power to step back, shut up and really listen? What happens when curiosity is our first move?

What does leading with curiosity actually look like?

And, more to the point, how can I lead with curiosity?

I’m trying to be willing and eager; to embrace my ignorance.

Honestly, that’s not hard this month as I tackle the steep learning curve that arcs toward my newly-approved radio show  (beginning May 4; every other Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern time [US] on WERA-LP 96.7 FM, streaming live on wera.fm, and available after broadcast on Mixcloud).

Is it a surprise that I’ve named it “Choose to be Curious”?

I’m up to my eyeballs in new FacebookTwitter and Spinitron accounts; grappling with the mechanics of audio recording. I’m chasing interviews. Struggling to clarify my own thinking enough to craft cogent scripts. Loving the challenge.

Loving being new and dumb and eager and willing.

So much to be curious about. I’m letting it lead me – and maybe that’s the secret.

 

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