Curiosity creates better leadership because curious leaders fulfill their employees’ need to be acknowledged. In our personal and professional lives, recognition is always important. It is a very basic human need to feel heard, seen, and noticed.
It seems these days that everyone is walking around with an invisible button that says I want to be seen and acknowledged.
I’ve been traveling frequently again, and I’ve been reminded through several simple little engagements with another human being the benefits of that human connection with strangers.
My favorite benefit of talking to a stranger:
You might learn something about someone different from you. Someone who might not look like you or come from the same place. They might even practice the same religion. Strangers will remind you that even with our differences, we all belong to the same race, humanity.
On my trip to Las Vegas, I learned that my driver Mazo is a single father of his 9-year-old son. They were going to a soccer match later that day. I mentioned that going to sporting events with my son at that age turned out to be some of the best times we shared. Although he wasn’t super excited, later, I got a text thanking me for our conversation.
More Conversations from My Trip
Oren the waiter at the convention was so kind to me, even getting me a pot of hot water for my tea. We talked about waiting tables (I
mentioned I’d worked in the Catskills myself) and once could carry 12 plates with lids on a tray. We also lamented our hair going grey.
Leah my waitress at dinner that night, was sad that her New York Yankees were losing their chance at the World Series. She showed me photos of a trip she’d taken with her 5-year-old son to Disney World because she couldn’t find the ones of them at Yankee Stadium. She said, “You’ll like these because you are a mom too.” Then she asked to see pictures of my kids (adult children now) as well.
My wonderful AV pal Jesse told me having a year off due to Covid had been a blessing. He did get unemployment and was happy to be back at work again. But, he mentioned his sabbatical time would likely never have happened again and it had been beneficial.
What can we learn from these engagements?
Each of these engagements was simply a matter of starting a conversation, being curious, and asking some questions. I’m going to venture to say both of us felt a connection after our conversation. After the last couple of years where I’ve had limited opportunities like this, it was nourishing to my soul to have so many chances to connect with others.
By intentionally having these kinds of conversations with teams, employees, or managers, curiosity creates better leadership. It will lead to more empowered, proficient teams and stronger communication throughout the organization.
What does connecting with a stranger teach you? How can you apply those findings to the workplace? Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn.
Curiosity + Kindness = Human Connection