Inquisitive professionals are naturally curious. They may view problems from a creative lens and develop more innovative solutions than their less-inquisitive peers. Other benefits of being inquisitive include an openness to other viewpoints, more thoughtful communication and improved collaboration.

It pays for leaders, especially, to be inquisitive. Marilee Adams, Ph.D., CEO and founder of the Inquiry Institute, says that inquiring leaders often have an advantage. This is because they know how to fine-tune their skills and bring out the highest levels of engagement, innovation and collaboration in their teams.

However, you don’t need to manage a team of people to develop a more inquiring mind. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Dr. Adams’ thoughts on how you can become more curious and connected at work.

1. Don’t default to negativity. According to Dr. Adams, many people tend to create a worst-case scenario when called upon to change or do something new. Their default is to worry and ask questions like “Who’s to blame?” Instead, to become more inquisitive, embrace more “learner” questions like, “What can we take away from this?” Questions drive our thinking, behavior and results, she says, so if you want to keep moving in a productive, positive direction, learn to adjust your questions.

2. Watch what you ask yourself. You may not be aware, but you’re always asking yourself questions. Dr. Adams says that people think with questions and by becoming aware of those internal questions, you can notice which ones deflate you and which ones help you think clearly and effectively. Start by simply observing your internal questions. Do they reinforce a fear of failure? Or do your questions give way to what-if possibilities? She notes that when the fear-based parts of our brains are activated, our thinking tends to narrow into tunnel vision just when we need our peripheral vision for the most comprehensive and creative problem-solving.

3. Ask more than you tell. Inquisitive people always want to know more. So naturally, they’re always asking questions. Dr. Adams says you can use these questions to get powerful results. Your information-gathering questions help you understand the needs, challenges and contributions of colleagues, team members and stakeholders. Your questions invite the best thinking, collaboration and engagement as well as a sense of psychological safety for your colleagues and teams, she says.

Research shows that curiosity in the workplace has been connected to decreased stress, increased creativity, stronger relationships between employees and overall better job performance. You can work on being more inquisitive by adjusting the questions you ask yourself, being open to new possibilities and asking more questions of those around you.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Marilee Adams, Ph.D., is an award-winning author and pioneer in the fields of inquiry-based coaching, leadership and organizational culture. She is CEO/founder of the Inquiry Institute, a solutions and performance-focused company providing consulting, coaching, training, keynotes and eLearning.