True North Coaching | The importance of curiosity and self-awareness
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The importance of curiosity and self-awareness

The importance of curiosity and self-awareness

In both a personal and professional context, the future is emerging so rapidly around us that even the notion of generating faster results is not enough anymore. Tighter deadlines, smaller budgets, and smarter technology are all driving an incredibly fast pace and demanding atmosphere in the business environment. This not only impacts our working lives and ability to produce the required results, but it impacts our personal lives and relationships as well.

So what is it that will help us not only face our future, but to flourish in it? What will help us to not only cope, but to stand out as leaders and creators?

Become Proactive

The standard response to this question is to simply adapt. To adapt to the fast pace, and to the new ways of working. Yet simply adapting is reactive – it is about survival rather than creating. I believe that because change is happening so fast, that to merely adapt is no longer enough.

Essentially, we need to become proactive and to create. As leaders and pioneers in whatever field one is in, we need to generate one step ahead of the future. Indeed, one step is sometimes all that there is time for.

Furthermore, what we have created, or choose to create – be it a new team, product or concept – may need to change before it is initiated or implemented. With precious little real control in the new business environment that we are faced with, the key attributes required to work constructively with change are deep authenticity and a strong sense of self. These two attributes generate a critical sense of balance in an individual.

When taking this approach, the key lies within. And the more balance we have, the more clarity we have. From this stance we can adapt, create and dance with the future™ as it emerges…

Curiosity & Self-Awareness

Having worked with a number of high profile leaders and thinkers, I can attest to the fact that one of the core skills or attributes of powerful and healthy leaders who grow healthy and successful teams is their inherent curiosity.

These leaders are open to listening, to empathising, and to cultivating new ways of looking at certain things, and new ways of approaching difficult problems. They avoid taking a rigid and dogmatic stance, and are able to adopt a more fluid and organic way of running teams and managing people.

In addition, I constantly find that successful leaders and businesspeople have a high level of self-awareness. They are not afraid to question themselves, and to question the status quo.

They can ask themselves the important questions, such as: ‘what is the current beat? Am I moving to it? What’s happening to my teams? What’s happening to my competitors? Does the beat have to change? Do we have to pause, or simply go with the flow…?’

By combining the core elements of curiosity and self-awareness, we can position ourselves for future success, and to dance with the future™ as it emerges…

As individuals, we can all work on developing and honing these two qualities:

  • By learning how to self-observe: i.e. is this behaviour useful?
  • By moving from reacting to responding…
  • By responding, we self-correct, and become self-generating.
  • By cultivating an awareness of the eco system (not only focused on ‘getting my way’!). Often, this requires moving from ‘ego system’ thinking to ‘eco system’ thinking.
  • By creating a new structure of interpretation: Broadening how you see the world, and not being bound by rigid structures.
  • By letting go of the fear, and embracing the unknown.
This article was written by Nicola Slingsby, founder of True North Coaching and Consulting and published in FinWeek on 21 May 2014.