Curiosity – The Secret Ingredient To Team Building

Almost everyone knows who LeBron James is. He’s arguably the greatest basketball player in the world and possibly ever. Every team he’s on improves dramatically.

It’s remarkable the team building skills he has. He is a generational talent but there’s something hidden in all the work that he does. Of the many skills he brings to the teams he’s been on, it might surprise you that his curiosity is a great attribute and big contributor to his success.

Think about the benefit he reaps from this mindset. He asks how far can I push myself? What talents do others around me have? How can I best utilize those talents? What are the weaknesses of my opponents? Ultimately, he’s asking, “what’s possible with this team and its talents?”

A Culture Of Curiosity

Leaders on teams and the people within those teams can learn from his example. Like LeBron James’ teams, there are various skills, talents, and abilities available. Having an attitude or culture of curiosity about people and problems builds better teams and produces better results.

When employees are empowered to answer questions and think for themselves, everything improves. As a result, your team will have better ideas, improved communication, more engagement, and a boost to your bottom-line results.

Curiosity opens the door to opportunities for everyone on the team to be heard, contribute, and succeed. But changing a culture is not an easy task. It takes time to move to a culture of curiosity. It starts by asking one more question.

Ask One More Question

If leaders would slow down and stop answering questions and ask just one more question, the benefits of that one extra question will immediately begin to show.

Think of a typical work meeting you’ve been in. Now imagine someone shares a problem with the team. What typically happens? People start to provide solutions or ideas to resolve the problem. But they don’t have enough information. Many times employees are looking to get the meeting over with so they can go back to work.

What if a meeting was filled with questions, curiosity, and ideation? Wouldn’t that be an enjoyable meeting? When we ask questions we are entering into a new adventure.

Leaders are even worse. A lot of leaders believe they need to have all the answers. If you lead like this, consider trying to have the best questions instead of the best answers.

This is what John Maxwell has to say about curiosity, Look at questions like keys on a key ring. The more questions, the more keys, the more doors you can open. The more ideas.”

When leaders approach team building this way, a surprising thing happens. Team members begin to emulate this behavior while the leader is absent. The result is better ideas and flow of communication all without the manager supervising the conversations/discussions.

How Do You Measure Curiosity?

Curiosity isn’t something you can pull out a tape measure or look at on a P&L to know how things are going, you have to get a little creative. Here are a couple suggestions.

  • You can measure results by simply monitoring the increase of ideas generated and the quality of ideas generated.
  • You can monitor how much time is spent asking questions and gathering information vs people offering solutions.
  • Track the time you spend “putting out fires” vs the time spent doing your actual job. (In other words, a decrease in time-wasting meetings!)
  • Finally, when you notice a change in the efficiency of your team, you know the culture of curiosity is working.

These are just a few ideas, you probably have some great ones. How would you measure curiosity? Let me know by commenting below.

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