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Respectful curiosity



Anger, conflict and misunderstandings are part of life-especially in organisations. If you replace accusations and angry tones with respectful curiosity, you may be surprised at the results.

Ever have someone do something that led you to think: ‘what were you thinking?

I think most of us have been there at one time or another.  Maybe you find yourself rolling your eyes every time they speak at a team meeting because you are sure they are trying to undermine you with their comments. Nothing ever changes, so you just keep pushing the anger and frustration down deeper.

Prolonging these reactions can lead to patterns that are not helpful for office productivity or team harmony.

A few years ago, after listening to a number of similar scenarios from friends, colleagues and clients- and experiencing them myself-I set out to find a healthy way of dealing with these situations.

I realised that if we are curious about something, it takes us from a place of judgement and moves us to a place of genuine enquiry. I created the term respectful curiosity.

If ask what is curious, your mind and brain are focused on information gathering rather than emotion fueled judgement. The respectful part of it is a reminder not to pry into personal areas or ask questions that are not relevant to the situation at hand. With curiosity, our tone of voice is one of interest, and our questions are not accusing. The result? The other person is less likely to be defensive and the conversation is more likely to be constructive and actually could build your relationship with that person.

What opportunities do you have to apply respectful curiosity?

Share your successes with us!

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