Leading with curiosity or by fear?

Leading remote and distributed teams can prove challenging, particularly teams that are in isolation.

If you are in this space, bear with me whilst I share a short story with you.

Yesterday afternoon my son and I downed tools and went out into the sunshine. We had originally planned to undertake a mini nature trail around the garden but when we got out there we decided that wasn’t adventurous enough.

With the warm sun shining down on us, my son had an idea and disappeared into the garage.

He came back with a piece of wood and magnifying glasses and went to find a good sunny space on the lawn.

The wood was quite thick and wasn’t taking as quickly as he had hoped. Spotting a dry leaf, he grabbed it and it started to burn pretty quickly.

Off he then went to grab a green leaf, chocolate wrappers, paper, and a stick.

The results of this activity is shown in the picture.

Aside from the scientific and chemical reactions, what did we learn?

Curiosity - Creativity - Freedom to Think - Courage - Accountability

How is that?

We had already identified:

Our purpose to be outdoors.

Our plan to use what we found in the garden.

Our team of two.

We had the tools and equipment.

We allowed ourselves not to be constrained with the original plan, as the new ideas were interesting. And my son was really keen and excited to develop the idea. You could see his mind whirring and the curiosity driving him to carry on and ask why they were burning at different rates.

The pace of change in technology is injecting ambiguity in the future of careers and challenging leadership skills. But today, we have been abruptly faced with incredible change and challenge, and perhaps with what feels like ‘our backs against the wall’ but this is the time.

Allowing your teams the freedom to, what may be going off-piste of the original agenda, develop ownership, curiosity and creative thinking.

Curiosity fuels growth and creativity (you may have heard of growth mindset)

Curiosity requires humility and confidence (to accept you don’t have all the answers and the confidence to active listen, be aware and ask the right questions)

Curiosity requires learning agility (adaptability to explore new ideas, new perspectives and accept that not all the ideas will come to fruition)

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.

– James Stephens

Your own inner fear could and quite naturally in these circumstances be because:

  • you cannot see or be with your teams,
  • you worry about what they are doing,
  • you worry how they are coping and juggling the new ways of working remotely,

then being more curious can help you through this, and you’ll start developing your leadership skills.

Try these 3 tips:

  1. Be open to being wrong and not knowing all of the answers.
  2. Mind your language. It’s very easy in these pressurised times to become exasperated and frustrated very quickly. Body language is harder to see remotely.
  3. Get some help. This is your time to learn and develop. It’s the time for you to help your teams.

If you’d like some ideas or help, do get in touch.


0333 987 5252 | sayhello@opensquareconsulting.com

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