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Don’t Let Your Leadership Style Be Stuck In The Eighties

July 20, 2017 Nicole Lyons

Have you seen the 80s movie The Breakfast Club? Five high school kids discover that they have a lot in common after all. The teenagers in the film couldn’t help but share their life experiences with one another, and they felt curiosity as they listened. We should all have the curiosity that the characters in the movie did because effective leaders value meaningful partnerships. Cultivating curiosity amongst employees will have profound, positive effects.

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The old paradigms of the past should be let go

This is the Imagination Age. Environments are always changing and becoming more complex. The type of leader that will thrive in this new era is not the leader of the past.

Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning, and leaders who can create the conditions for learning will, in turn, create the conditions for innovation and creativity. Curiosity is stifled in so many workplaces, and people become afraid to speak out and offer new ideas.

At first, the characters in the movie grouped themselves by their social standing at school. They didn’t want to interact with one another. Maybe you feel the same way. You have your little niche, and you’re comfortable there.

You don’t want to stray. You don’t want to invite anyone to your safe little place. This type of thinking, however, is only going to limit innovation. Effective leaders can’t afford to overlook others.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

Albert Einstein

If you want to stay relevant and prepared for this fast-paced business environment, you might have to force yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and allow yourself to experience curiosity. Imagine all the beautiful thoughts and ideas of new people, just waiting to be discovered.

Humans are naturally curious and tend to seek out challenges. Scientists have found a clear link between curiosity and dopamine, which is known as a reward transmitter in the brain. Curiosity is born in the gap between what people know and what people want to know (Domenico, 2017).

Curiosity is the spark needed for innovation

If you feel uncertain about how to harness and sow the seeds of curiosity, the i4 Neuroleader Model can help. Innovation, one of the main pillars of the model, requires that good leaders give employees opportunities to satisfy their own curiosity.

In the movie, The Breakfast Club, the teenagers had specific roles at the beginning. They acted like their peers and the adults around them expected them to act. By the end of the movie, their natural curiosity about each other led them to realise that they couldn’t be pigeonholed into one role.

Leaders who are making things happen for their organisations cannot be stuck in the roles of the past. Understanding how to optimise your brain and body can help you foster an environment that welcomes curiosity and drives innovation.

Become more Curious  Ever wondered where the power of curiosity can take you? New advances from  different scientific fields are helping us better understand how our brains and  bodies function and the incredible impact they have on the way we lead.  Learn how our i4 Neuroleader Program can help develop your personal leadership. Download Program Guide

Di Domenico, S. I., & Ryan, R. M. (2017). The Emerging Neuroscience of Intrinsic Motivation: A New Frontier in Self-Determination Research. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11, 145.

Nicole Lyons

Nicole Lyons

Nicole is the About my Brain Institute's researcher and blogger. As a writer and science educator she is passionate about sharing scientific knowledge to refute ignorance and misconceptions. Nicole is also a devoted wife and mother to three children, two cats, a dog and frog.