In this episode of Relationships at Work, communications and leadership nerd (and host) Russel Lolacher talks about the need to prioritize curiosity over assumption when entering a new work environment or connecting with a new team.
According to a 2018 survey conducted by Gallup, employees who demonstrate curiosity in the workplace are more likely to be innovative, adaptable, and high-performing. Specifically, the survey found that highly curious employees were more likely to generate new ideas and solutions, adapt to change, and find innovative solutions to problems.
Russel shares the questions we should ask ourselves and ask our new team, the assumptions we shouldn't make and some steps to think about to improve building workplace connections.
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| Welcome to Relationships At Work – the guide for emerging leaders to create a workplace we love. I’m your host Russel Lolacher I’m a communications and leadership nerd with a couple of decades of experience and a heap of curiosity on how we can lead and work together to improve the employee experience.
This show is a great resource to help us with that.
Every week on the show, I talk with a local or global leader on topics that are help to you to improve the workplace. We’ve tackled negativity, reimagining leadership, imposter syndrome, diversity, communication, empathy, activism, burnout, mental health, and so many other topics.
And now, as an added bonus, I’ll be sharing an additional episode pulled from the pages of our weekly R@W Note which you can subscribe to. A quick and valuable bit of information on top of our regular show.
So for this week’s R@W Note I’m passing you… Curiosity Beats Assumption Every Time.
According to a 2018 survey conducted by Gallup, employees who demonstrate curiosity in the workplace are more likely to be innovative, adaptable, and high-performing. Specifically, the survey found that highly curious employees were more likely to generate new ideas and solutions, adapt to change, and find innovative solutions to problems. Additionally, highly curious employees were found to be more engaged in their work and more likely to stay with their employer long-term.
Let’s get into curiosity. If you’ve been a long time listener of the podcast or a follower of my work, you’ll notice a reoccurring statement. Self-awareness and situational awareness are leadership superpowers. Both of which are extremely vital in improving the employee experience. Self-reflection, assessing a situation… it’s all data collection. But by increasing that curiosity, we’re putting ego aside (real or perceived) and have the opportunity to have the biggest results in building connection and workplace culture.
So starting with us - We can't help others if we don't help ourselves. It’s like that metaphor of putting the air mask on yourself befor helping others. Where this can be the most effective in when we're entering a work situation we're unfamiliar with, whether it's meeting new people or the learning about the work… it’s vital we take that pause.
And get really curious. First with ourselves and then with those we’ve about to work with.
For ourselves, ask: What is our mindset? What baggage are we bringing to this conversation? Do we have preconceived notions? Why? How is our ego showing up and what is it saying? Do I need to talk at all? What value am I providing right now? Would they agree with me?
And then be curious about them: What are you doing? Why are you doing that? Can you explain that again to me? Do you mind us having a separate meeting so you can get me up to speed? What are your biggest blockers? How can I help? What do you think is the most important I should be focusing on first?
Sure, of course we know our bubbles – our experiences, and our regular work colleagues really well, but that won't always be the case. Not if you want to grow and building new relationships. The best way to address this is with curiosity.
The worst way is assumption.
Assuming you know the best approach.
Assuming you know the strengths and weaknesses of the team.
Assuming you know what’s important and what’s not
Assuming you know the value of the work or the best way to communicate it. Assuming you know how everyone works together.
Curiosity breads connection. Assume - Ass out of you and me.
Here's some things to think about:
1) Cultivate an Open Mindset - embrace the belief that there is always something new to learn and different perspectives to consider.
2) Ask Thoughtful Questions - it can foster curiosity in yourself and others. Ask open-ended questions that encourage exploration and discovery, rather than seeking confirmation of your own ideas.
3) Listen Actively and Learn - when others are speaking, give them your full attention and avoid interrupting or jumping to conclusions. Listen not only to the words being spoken, but also to the tone, body language, and emotions being conveyed.
Building relationships at work starts with connection. Leading with curiosity and making it about them and not about us, is key to creating that workplace we love.