How to Unlock Your Growth Mindset With Curiosity

8 min read

In our relentless pursuit of growth and understanding, I’ve often emphasized the critical role of curiosity in leadership. It’s the spark that ignites innovation and the light that guides us through the complexities of our professional journey. Yet, this is not curiosity for curiosity’s sake; it is always a means to an end, a tool to move from where you are to where you could be. Now, I want to explore the journey from a fixed to a growth mindset.

A fixed mindset is the belief that one’s abilities, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits and cannot significantly change. It often leads to avoiding challenges and feeling threatened by others’ success. 

On the contrary, a growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence develop through dedication and hard work. It embraces challenges, sees effort as the path to mastery, and learns from criticism. People with a growth mindset find inspiration in others’ success.

The powerful aspect of those two definitions for a leader is finding inspiration in the success of others. Authentic servant leadership can be in short supply in many corporate cultures; as a leader, showing your team their potential through your own eyes, especially when they can not see it themselves, is one of the most powerful gifts you can give.

The Essence of Curiosity in Leadership

My explorations have led me to an undeniable truth: curiosity is not just an attribute; it’s a transformative force. It pushes us beyond our comfort zones and challenges the rigidity of a fixed mindset.

As leaders, we often find ourselves at a crossroads where the path of least resistance tempts us. Go ahead, just jump to the solution, write off that person’s idea, and let’s just keep things moving. Yet, it’s curiosity that urges us to choose the road less travelled, the one that promises growth and learning, that at the moment can often feel like the longer route.

A Personal Reflection: Overcoming Fixed Mindset

I’ve encountered my battles with the fixed mindset, particularly evident when I faced the daunting world of podcasting. This experience taught me that a fixed mindset, rooted in self-doubt and fear, can significantly hamper personal growth and the ability to lead effectively. 

Embracing curiosity was a revelation, a way to break free from these chains, allowing me to pursue new ideas and possibilities with an open and eager mind. The podcast not only changed my professional trajectory, but it also opened me up to the art of the possible when it came to exploring topics where I went in with only my open-mindedness to what I did not know to guide me, all while trusting in my ability to learn and adapt at the moment. It was an incredible training arena for curiosity as a tool to stretch my growth mindset constantly and my comfort zone. 

Curiosity in Action: Fostering Growth and Adaptability

One practical method I’ve employed to nurture a growth mindset in my day-to-day life is reflective practice. For almost two months back in 2020, I would assess my approach after every meeting, which can be 4 to 8 meetings per day: Was I genuinely open and curious, or did I slip into old fixed mindset patterns? This self-awareness is crucial in identifying tendencies and consciously cultivating a growth-centric mindset.

I used a very analog approach, of a single sheet of paper by my desk with one column titled “fixed” and the other column titled “growth.  After each call, I would reflect on my behaviour on the call coming from a fixed growth mindset. It did not take long for a growth mindset to give me more of what I wanted, but I gained feedback from my team on my shift and got hooked!

In team dynamics, modelling curiosity has profound effects. It’s about encouraging questions, valuing diverse perspectives, and creating a safe space for innovative thinking. It’s not about having all the answers but facilitating a collective discovery and learning journey.

Curiosity: The Superpower of Leaders

In my journey, I’ve come to view curiosity as a superpower in leadership. It equips us to uncover potential, seize opportunities, and confront challenges with a fresh lens. Fueled by curiosity, leadership is not just about expertise but a relentless quest for growth and understanding.

Cultivating a Curiosity-Driven Culture

Embedding a culture that cherishes curiosity begins with leadership. It requires vulnerability – admitting what we don’t know and being willing to learn. The growth mindset is crucial here. It involves celebrating curiosity in others encouraging them to question, challenge, and think creatively. By fostering a culture of psychological safety driven by your emotional intelligence, you will create space and demonstrate what genuine curiosity at work can look like. 

The Curious Path to Transformational Leadership

Curiosity is more than a trait; it’s a mindset essential for effective leadership. By fostering a growth mindset through curiosity, we can transform how we lead, and our teams innovate. It’s about creating a culture where learning, growth, and adaptation are not merely encouraged but are integral to our collective ethos. As we navigate an ever-changing landscape, remember that the future belongs to the curious – those unafraid to question, explore, and learn.

Stay Curious! 

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