Currently with such a focus on effective and remote leadership, I came across an article by Francesca Gino and Dan Cable and think it is an excellent illustration of the power of coaching and being more coach-like in such uncertain and unsettled times. One of the fundamental skills alongside coaching and being more coach-like, is of course the ability to be curious.
The word ‘curious’ actually derives from the Latin ‘to care’ and if you want to be helpful and show authentic care as a leader, then being curious is a fantastic way to do this. What it does is put the spotlight on the individual and enables deeper thinking around challenges, clarity and creativity in making positive progress. By being curious as a leader, we are laying down our own power and control in order to say ‘I trust you, I want to hear what you have to say’. So, in fact, it’s not about the leader being right or jumping in with advice the whole time, but starting with the other person. By being curious we are able to develop trust, contribution, creativity and collaboration with our team. The good news as well is, we have a multitude of opportunities to be curious and more coach-like when we are leading remotely. Such as during phone calls, video conference meetings and communication via email, it doesn’t have to be saved for the face to face conversations we have.
Be More Curious.
There are three areas of focus that Gino and Cable suggest. Firstly, fundamentally our role as a leader isn’t just about being an employee and in service of ‘the organisation’, it’s about being in service to and authentically caring for our team, colleagues and stakeholders around us. Therefore, ‘think about how you can serve the people you lead? Be curious about what’s on their mind and how you can help?’ And it’s not about advising people out of situations all of the time. We advise others because it is self satisfying to do so, to get things ‘right’ and to seemly be ‘helpful’, yet when we do step in and advise, we diminish the learning, value and potential contribution of others. More often than not, it is more valuable to allow people the space and insight to get clarity and work things out for themselves.
Secondly, help employees discover their own personal purpose, particularly in a time of monumental change and upheaval, change is of course stressful, but often an opportunity to try new things, new ways of working and to be innovative. Again, be curious and encourage insight into fundamental questions such as what is my job now? How do I help the organisation succeed? Thirdly, encourage employees to reflect on opportunities to recraft their jobs. Be curious about strengths, talents, their ideas and how they see themselves contributing even further?
You might have noticed the common theme here – Be curious, the most effective way as a manager and leader you can be helpful and show that you care. Advice is not as useful as it might seem, as invariably we are often advising on the wrong problem and in fact, we won’t have all the facts and insights available that the other person we are ‘helping’ might have.
Here’s the full article:
Oh and by the way, this is exactly the type of training we offer organisations, giving busy managers the tools to be more curious and coach-like in their everyday conversations. If you’d like to know more about our training programmes either virtual or face to face, please reach out, we’d love to have that conversation – firstname.lastname@example.org.