The Benefits of Curiosity in the Workplace
Curiosity—or the impulse to seek new information/experiences and explore novel possibilities—is important to individuals’ lives. Recent research discussed in the Harvard Business Review revealed three important insights about curiosity in the workplace. First, research has revealed that curiosity is much more important to a company’s performance than previously thought. Cultivating curiosity helps employees and their leaders adapt to market conditions and pressures. Curiosity allows them to think innovatively and rationally about decisions and come up with creative solutions. Curiosity also helps leaders gain respect from their employees by building a more trusting and collaborative relationship. Second, it only takes small changes to enable leaders to encourage curiosity from their employees. And third, many leaders stifle curiosity fearing that it will increase risk and inefficiency.
The first part of this two-part blog series will discuss the various benefits of curiosity for organizations, leaders, and employees. The second part (which will be posted next week) will discuss how leaders can bolster curiosity in the workplace.
Below are some of the benefits of curiosity:
- Fewer decision-making errors. When curiosity exists, individuals are less likely to fall victim to confirmation bias. In other words, they are less likely to look for information that supports their beliefs, rather than information that proves them wrong. With curiosity, individuals are less likely to make broad judgements and stereotype people.
- More innovation and positive changes in both creative and noncreative jobs. Encouraging people to be curious often improves work life. Those who are curious view difficult work situations more creatively. Curiosity is associated with less defensive reactions to stress and less aggressive reactions to provocation. Employees also perform better when they are curious.
- Reduced group conflict. Curiosity encourages employees in a group to understand others’ perspectives. They tend to take interest in others’ ideas rather than just focusing on their own. This creates a group that works better together and ultimately achieves better results. There is also a decrease in conflict.
- More open communication and better team performance. Employees with higher levels of curiosity share information more openly and listen more carefully.