You can find best practices everywhere. Observe the leaders in your life. You can find nuggets of leadership excellence from a parent or in-law, a clergy person, a speaker at a professional association meeting, a fellow leader, your child’s school principal, a scout troop leader, or a particularly helpful manager at a local store. Watch, ask, listen, and learn.
Try these two strategies to cultivate your curiosity.
Embrace the unknown.
To overcome the fear of uncertainty, try to flip your mindset to one of excitement at the prospect of gaining a new skill or knowledge. By reframing the unknown from something negative into one of infinite possibilities and opportunities, you open yourself up to being more flexible, as well as being able to adapt quickly and creatively to changing situations.
Practice building a growth mindset with the word “yet.” If you do not know or understand something, tell yourself, “I don’t have this skill yet” or “I don’t understand this topic yet.”
Using “yet” plants the seeds of growth and learning in your mind instead of accepting the current state as the future state (e.g., I don’t have this skill and, therefore, I never will).
Find a mentor.
Mentors are a great source of growth and a great place to quench your curiosity about the future. They can offer you a precious glimpse into their life experiences. If experience is truly the best teacher, then it would be wise to study the life lessons and expertise of a mentor. For the greatest benefit, seek out mentors with the specific skills you desire to acquire. Maybe it’s the organization’s top strategist, the salesperson with the magnetic people skills, or the teammate who consistently wows the leader.
Challenge yourself to identify a new source from which to learn, like a mentor, a professional peer group, a certification program, a colleague from a different department. Mentors can be older or younger than you. Younger mentors may not have as much experience in the field but can offer fresh insights, tools, and perspectives.
Watch for our new book, Health Leadership: How to Lead so Everyone Thrives.