The Place Of Curiosity In 21st Century Leadership.

The Place Of Curiosity In 21st Century Leadership.

Is curiosity turning out to be the most important skill in a 21st-century leader? Is the traditional laid-back executive being overshadowed by the inquisitive guy?

You probably have heard leaders talk of a VUCA world. This term; which was used by the US military to mean volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, has become common among leaders today.

Leaders all over the world use this term to describe the ever-changing systems and terms of doing business. For instance, a few years ago the banking industry was one of the best employers in the world. Millions of people earned a living from it.

Then online and mobile banking was introduced to help customers transact their businesses from the comfort of their homes. Today very few people go to the bank. As a result, financial institutions will have to let go some employees, whose skills can now be performed by robots.

These changes have taken place within a relatively short period of time. How does such a creation affect the structure and styles of leadership? All banks have to adapt to these changes otherwise they will be out of business soon for customers have been saved from the long and annoying queues at the bank.

Imagine a banking executive who had just led the company in a staff hiring spree without seeking to know current and possible future trends in the banking industry. He is likely to fire more employees than the one who has been curious about modern trends in this industry.

The only way leaders will survive in a VUCA world is by being curious. According to Kathy Tarbener and Kirsten Siggins- the authors of ‘The Power Of Curiosity’- curiosity is the skill that leads to amazing discoveries.

Technology and politics are some of the factors that are constantly changing the business landscape. That leaves business owners and leaders with only one choice: to be informed at all times.

Some executives will argue that they have already invested in experts charged with the responsibility of developing new innovations. While great leaders give employees a chance to be inventive, they too need to be creative and informed at all times.

Why should you as a leader be curious?

  • Curiosity will move you from the comfort zone to the magical world of inventions.You might discover: new trends in your sector, performance gaps among your employees, new talents, and skills in your company or ways to bridge the gaps between existing models of operation and new ones.

  • Curiosity will give you a better understanding of your vision, and company objectives. That way you can easily map out the future.

  • Curiosity leads to new ways of solving problems.
  • How can you enhance curiosity?

    • Listen more so that you know what to ask.
    • Engage people in dialogue.
    • Ask relevant and appropriate questions.
    • Give the people you are talking to, your undivided attention.
    • Read.


    Curiosity is an essential skill that any leader who wants to be effective in this century must develop. It is hard to cope with all the creations that emerge every day but with a little curiosity, you will know which way to lead the company.

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