Curiosity & Experimentation Mindset

Home » Podcast » Curiosity & Experimentation Mindset

How can you, as a front line leader, develop a mindset of curiosity and experimentation?

Do you think in terms of curiousness and experimentation, or do you tend to be rigid and narrow in your thinking?

One of the expressions I like is, “be curious, not furious” because being curious opens one up to possibilities and future excellence.

In front line leadership, having a curious and experimental mindset can be applied to a few different areas.

The first area is when things are changing.

When changes get implemented and you don’t have a curious and experimental mindset, you might think, “Oh, that change will never work. That’s just not going to happen. There’s so many problems with this.” Your team will pick up on that negative vibe, too.

What if instead, when it comes to change, you thought, “How can we make this work? How could we experiment with this to see if it will work?” Then your team will start thinking the same way, too.

Do you have a curious and experimental mindset? Share on X

The second area where you could be more curious and experimental would be around people’s behavior.

After all, when people act a certain way, many leaders are personally offended.

Instead, when it comes to people’s behavior, you could ask, “I wonder why that person isn’t meeting my expectations? I wonder what coaching or training I could offer to help them be more successful? I wonder how I can get them back on track?” Experimentation means that you might not have the answer, but you’re willing to explore and find it. Having that curiosity mindset can greatly influence people’s behaviors.

curious factory workers

This mindset can also help with conflict.

Conflicts happen, and if you have a curious mindset, your questions can help provide solutions that wouldn’t have come about if you hadn’t asked, “How can we resolve this going forward?” A person with an experimentation mindset would say, “I might not be able to fix this in one shot. What could I try first? And if that doesn’t work, what could I try second and third?”

The fourth and final area that you could bring curiosity and experimentation to would be leadership in general.

Even though I’ve been in the business of training leaders for more than 26 years, I still view leadership as an ongoing experiment. After all, even the academics agree there isn’t just one checklist or formula for good leadership, so it’s always a bit of an experiment.

What if your curiosity was around, “How could I become a better leader? How could I work on myself to be better tomorrow than I am today?” If you have an experimentation mindset, you might think, “Instead of only doing things that I’m comfortable doing, maybe I should try something different and see how it works.”

If you embrace a curious and experimentation mindset, you can do it to change, you can do it to understand people’s behavior, you can do it with conflict, and you can do it in leadership.