No Cure for Curiosity

Leadership isn’t a recipe.

Or a formula.

Or a series of steps.

It’s a mountain to be explored.

To be broken and reshaped.

But never conquered.

The more we think we know.

The less we know.

No matter how long we lead.

How many books we read.

There is always more to learn.

More to try.

More to give.

Great leadership is born out of insatiable curiosity.

  • Curiosity about people. Their gifts. What they care about. What they can teach us.
  • Curiosity about the future. Changes in the world. Patterns that are emerging. Where it might lead us.
  • Curiosity about mistakes. How they can serve us. What we learned. What to try next.
  • Curiosity about our organization. The culture. The way people treat each other. Valuing differences.
  • Curiosity about alternatives. Things we find difficult. Opposing viewpoints. What we might be missing.
  • Curiosity about why. The purpose behind the work. The reason we are here. Choices we make.
  • Curiosity about how. The way things get done. How it could be better. Things we haven’t tried.
  • Curiosity about change. How it feels. The way people respond. What worked and what didn’t.
  • Curiosity about ourselves. How we are changing. Who we are becoming. How others see us.

The real experience of leadership never quite fits the neatly packaged solutions we read about and often defies our ideas of how we think it should work. In the day-to-day it’s messy and difficult and moves too fast. Our leadership is lived in the moment.

We dig for the right answers and we make the best choice we can, and with each experience we can learn. When we see the world through the lens of curiosity, every day becomes an opportunity to grow. To become by some small step, a better leader than we were yesterday.

Because all we can really know.

Is that there isn’t much we really know.

And when we finally figure that out.

Every day is a new beginning.

Originally published at on October 21, 2015.

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